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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

The Cultural Revolution Saved from Drowning

The Cultural Revolution Saved from Drowning

(p.36) The Cultural Revolution Saved from Drowning
The Essential Ellen Willis

Nona Willis Aronowitz

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter looks at the 1969 Woodstock Festival held in Bethel, New York, describing it as an outsize concert-promotion gambit gone haywire, a human disaster narrowly averted by the unsung efforts of locals, volunteers, and the Hog Farm commune. For at least a month before the festival, it was obvious to everyone involved in the event that the crowd was going to be enormous and the facilities inadequate. Thousands of ticket-holders were turned away from the site because of traffic jams (while other thousands of contributors to the traffic jams got in free). Woodstock Ventures, the producer, tried to create the impression that the crisis in Bethel was a capricious natural disaster rather than a product of human incompetence. From the start, the cultural-revolutionary wing of the radical movement saw Woodstock as a political issue. Although rock was the only thing that could have drawn hundreds of thousands of people, it was not the focal point of the festival but, rather, a pleasant background to the mass presence of the hip community.

Keywords:   rock, Woodstock Festival, Bethel, New York, volunteers, Hog Farm, traffic jams, Woodstock Ventures, radical movement, hip

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