What Woodstock Really Was

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I was only 15 at the time.. and Heidi, (my sister) was 19. I was staying with her for the summer at her house in Buffalo, New York. We were pretty fond of the music at the time, even though we werewn’t quite been exposed to the folk scene. When we heard about the free concert from a friend, we packed our bags and headed south. On the way, we picked up some friends in Heidi’s van. Heidi ran into Mitchie (her husband now) and had to take him too. We got there thursday afternoon, and set up camp not too far from a group of hippies sitting in a circle singing some happy song that i didn’t really know. To tell the truth, Heidi and I mainly went because we knew The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Who were going to be there.
On Friday, we waited a really long time, but finally, Richie Havens finally started singing. The rest of the day was pretty cool. We met a lot of cool people. I met this guy, named James. He was tall, with dark brown shaggy hair, and no shirt on, and a cigarette in his mouth. He was really nice and told me his parents didn’t want him to come, but he came anyway, and how all he does is play guitar and wish the world was a better place. He told me “Life isn’t worth living unless you’re willing to take some big chances and go for broke.” then he gave me this cool peace necklace made with hemp string, and a few beads. He walked off, and I’ve never seen him since.
The nights were long, and no one got any sleep. The second day, we were hit with a pretty bad storm. It rained all morning, but it cleared up in the afternoon. Del, a guy i had met on the way there, sat down with me and we played guitar for a while, and sang songs, and danced in the rain. People that sat on the big light and sound towers had to get down, and everyone took cover. people made mud slides, and stripped down and washed off in the lake behind the stage.I remember at about 3:00 a.m. Most people were actually asleep,(and covered in mud) but not me. CCR was about to play, and someone yells not too far from me “were with you, john.. don’t worry!” and then, they played a great show. I’ll never forget that guy. The Grateful dead got shocked a couple of times when they touched their instruments… we could hear a zap every once and a while.
Everyone thought the show was going to end on sunday, but it went on all the way to Monday, because of the long wait on Friday. I remember chanting the F word many times as Country Joe and the fish played their first song. That night, I had realized Heidiwasn’t with me, but i found her quickly after i spotted a small fire, and 10 hippies in a circle, dancing, singing, and living carefree. I had wished i could act like that, so I joined them, and I felt so alive!!
The final day, I woke up to the sound of johnny winter, and covered in blankets, and surrounded by beautiful people. I got up, and realized, sadly it was the last day of this amazing journey. we were going to leave, but forgot that Jimi Hendrix hadn’t played yet. so we got as close to the stage as we could (not too close, it was really crowded) and enjoyed the amazing one hour left of the concert. We packed up, and headed towards heidi’s van, and asked around if anyone needed a ride back to buffalo. It took atleast an hour and a half to get to our car.. and took 3 hours to get out. I cried on the way home, because I was so sad to leave, and hoped that someday i would experience this again. The people there taught me love, and to live free. It was more than just drugs, and what most people think it was today, but it was the fact that this brilliant guy wanted to gather almost half a million people together and create peace and harmony.

Jensen F

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