Sunday, August 09, 2009

I was not at Woodstock. Actually, I was in camp in Ferndale at the time, which was approximately ten miles and a couple of centuries away from Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel. But missing out so narrowly on so defining a moment has left me with a certain yearning ever since. I can't pass a mud pit without sliding in it. Okay, I exaggerate. But something in me really does hanker for the spirit of Woodstock. I can't explain it; it just is.

Last week I went to the Woodstock Revival event in Yerushalayim. About half the people there were my neighbors, some of whom were not ashamed to dig their psychedelic garb and bandanas out of the mothballs and actually wear them. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was self-parody. Anyway, the music was surprisingly fantastic. Lazer Lloyd did a Hatikva take-off on Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner that was simply gevaldig. The The Doors tribute band was excellent and Geva Alon sounds more like Neil Young than Neil Young does. It was great.

Here's the weird thing, though. If the point was to evoke the youthful anarchistic energy of Woodstock, to capture the sense of anti-establishment camraderie of that era, to recall the innocence of long-ago attempts to return to natural spirituality, to wear funny clothes and funny hairdos -- well then, those geezers were off by one night. The very next night, Acharit Hayamim out in the woods near Bat Ayin captured all that much more authentically than the Woodstock Revival did. The music is no longer soulful Carlebachian stuff. These guys, (for example, Fishy Hagadol (Adam Levinson)) are all about pure neo-chassidic anarchy.

I had a great time there too, except for the fact that I felt like David Dellinger.


Blogger Gil Student said...

Camp Agudah?

5:29 AM  
Blogger Ben said...


10:01 AM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

don't feel bad. Joni Mitchell cancelled her scheduled appearance at Woodstock so she wouldn't miss her booking on the Dick Cavett show.

5:30 PM  
Blogger debuser said...

I on the other had made it to Woodstock with my whole mishpocah on that sunday long ago.

My father decided to drive over to see what was going on, with the whole family in the car.

I still vividly recall the piles of mud in the rain. Some fellow zoomed over this incredibly tall mud pile in a motorcycle and zoomed passed our car on the way out.

6:14 AM  

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