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Beginning to See the LightSex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll$
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Ellen Willis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780816680788

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816680788.001.0001

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Cultural Revolution Saved from Drowning

Cultural Revolution Saved from Drowning

(p.45) Cultural Revolution Saved from Drowning
Beginning to See the Light

Ellen Willis

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter presents the author’s reflections about the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969. She attributes the festival’s success, despite the gross ineptitude of its organizers, to the 300,000 or more young people who were determined to have a good time no matter what. The accounts of the peacefulness and generosity of the participants are all true, but they have tended to miss the point. The cooperative spirit did not stem from solidarity in an emergency—the “we all forgot our differences and helped each other” phenomenon that attends power blackouts and hurricanes—so much as from a general refusal to adopt any sort of emergency psychology. The widespread conviction that the Lord would provide removed any incentive to fight or to hoard food, and the pilgrims simply proceeded to do what they had come to do: dig the music and the woods, make friends, reaffirm their life style in freedom from hostile straights and cops, swim naked, and get high.

Keywords:   Woodstock Music and Art Fair, music festivals, young people, concerts

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