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What does Woodstock mean to you?

August 13th, 2009
02:45 PM ET

It's forty years ago this week that hundreds of thousands converged on a plot of land in New York state and became part of a now legendary event. The organisers were businessmen and were out to make money but they could never have predicted the numbers that would flock to the site. The gates were thrown open and it ended up being a free festival epitomising the zeitgeist of peace and love, plus a bit of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. The story was epitomised by one performer. Melanie was a relative unknown in the music business but she asked the organisers if she could get involved. Just before she went on stage, candles were being handed out as part of an unrelated silent protest. As Melanie nervously picked up her guitar, the enormous crowd was so taken by her performance, they started waving their candles. In the decades that followed, music fans would relive that moment time and again at their own concerts, with lighters rather than candles.
On Thursday's Connect the World, I sit down with Melanie in a famous London Sixties hangout and relive Woodstock and everything that comes with it. Was it really that special? Why is it just as fascinating for people who didn't go as for those that did?
Your thoughts would be much appreciated so we can use them in our coverage.

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Filed under:  General
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Sarah W.

    Err....Woodstock was 40 years ago this week, not 60.

    Also, I found Jon Taplin's take interesting.

    August 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  2. Marco - Rome

    I finished school in 1969. Woodstock reflected the spirit, both hopes and frustrations of my generation. How can we get young people to fight to make the world a better place these days?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  3. George

    How can recreate Woodstock at this point? can we? Would YOU???

    August 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  4. Marco - Rome

    I finished school in 1969. Woodstock reflected the spirit, both hopes and frustrations of my generation. How can we get young people to fight to make the world a better place these days?”

    August 17, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  5. Tom from Sydney

    What factors lead to Woodstock back then?

    August 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  6. May -- Shanghai

    Can we recreate Woodstock online?”

    August 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  7. Britney CALI

    Who would beyour ultimate line -up these days???

    August 17, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Reply
  8. Warren - barcelona

    Are you guys living in the Past??

    August 17, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  9. June Edvenson

    At a time when an 'old-culture' political regime in the U.S. seemed endlessly untruthful and stupidly illogical about an arguably optional war overseas, young people with intelligence and a love of life gathered to hear the social and political messages brought to life by the amazing musical artists of that generation. I was not there, but it affected every American in one way or another. In many ways, it exposed the disingenuity of the Vietnam War's raison d'etre. In other ways, it spurred those in my generation to get more involved in changing the society (which we did: food nutrition standards, health planning, grocery coops, ecological farming, etc etc). When someone asks 'What happened to the Class of '69', the answer is: We changed the world – permanently and quickly. When someone asks, 'What did Woodstock achieve,' one must look at the symbolic power this gathering represented – the power to change the world, which we did.

    August 17, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  10. Deepa Vijayan

    Born in the early 1980s, I missed Woodstock by several years, but have never ceased to be moved by its magic and ability to create legend out of music. To me, Woodstock embodies a generation that, while I might not have been part of it, represented what I believe is the highest faculty of humans... to inspire change through music. Those guys were the pioneers into a new world which I am proud to inhabit today.

    August 18, 2009 at 11:55 am | Reply
  11. Steven Foxwell

    The interview with Melanie was thankfully never broadcast. This woman needs to stop living in the past. Woodstock was a rock concert – nothing more, nothing less. Ms Safka is trying to turn it into a mystical, magical event. Did Woodstock change the world? Not quite.
    This aging hippie needs to stop living in fantasy land!

    August 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  12. mel g

    it's a shame mr. foxwell (obviously) was not at woodstock. for some that were it was a smokefest etc but for many others, in fact, it was something mystical and magical...whether you believe this or not is not of any real import.....but at least have some respect for a singer/songerwriter who has been performing for 5 decades...perhaps you should go to one of her performances...I promise you, you will leave enchanted....

    September 22, 2009 at 1:28 am | Reply
  13. Steven

    In answer to Mel g, I did unfortunately attend a Melanie concert in my more naive and younger days. I found her singing and stage performance extremely moronic and childlike. I was so disappointed I insisted on getting a refund from the concert hall. I got it!

    September 24, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Reply

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