Sophie Nulph is a freshman journalism major and writes “Open-Minded” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Sophie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have an issue with music festivals.
Don’t get me wrong, I love getting dressed up, listening to live music and dancing around just as much as the next person. My issue is that music festivals tend to be more about saying you went, doing drugs and boasting about the giant mosh pits you got to witness than about the music.
What makes Woodstock 50 any different from those festivals?
On August 15, 1969, the original Woodstock was held in the middle of the woods in at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in New York. This three-day festival was headlined with bands such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. This was a time where people were protesting women’s rights, civil rights and the Vietnam War, and society was fearful of the unknown; fearful that there would never be peace again. The original Woodstock was created to provide that peace and love that America lacked so much in the late 60s. This was in the midst of a hippie movement that was all about loving everyone, no matter their color or gender. The movement was also heavily accompanied by drugs such as acid and marijuana.
Now, they are bringing the iconic music festival from the 60s back for its 50th anniversary, but Woodstock 50 is not any different from every other overpriced festival such as Lollapalooza, Coachella, Burning Man and Bunbury. The original festival cost $18 in advance and $24 at the gate to get in for all three days. The equivalent to that is around $120 today. This is still drastically less than Lollapalooza tickets, $340 for all four days, or Coachella 2019 tickets at a whopping $429 for a three-day pass.
The issue with the anniversary event is that it will never be able to recreate the original Woodstock. The original Woodstock did not just consist of stellar artists that captivated people, but it had a well-known spiritual master open the festival, inspiring people to love and be peaceful. That, and I don’t think people care about love and peace at a concert like they used to; they care about the drugs and how little clothing they can wear and not be arrested for. At the Lollapalooza concert in 2018, 27 attendees were arrested and 234 hospitalized according to the city of Chicago.
The mission statement supports peace and love, saying, “Our 3 day celebration of peace, love and music proved that it is possible to live together in harmony and with compassion. Live with only our best selves represented. It gave people around the world hope,” but this mission statement is simply an extension of the original mission statement, “3 days of Peace & Music.”
I understand the excitement and hype behind Woodstock 50. The anniversary festival has good intentions with recreating one of the most iconic music festivals to ever exist. But at the end of the day, it won’t live up to what it once was.
Woodstock 50 does have one thing I will credit them for above other festivals: they openly support causes that are relevant in our era. They have posted all of the organizations that they represent on their website, making it known that they still strive for love and peace. Charities such as March For Our Lives that fights for the end of gun violence, Hiring America that helps veterans reentering the workforce and The Felix Organization which strives to enrich children in foster care are supported by Woodstock 50.
If you love the artists at Woodstock 50 and you genuinely want to go, do not let me tell you not to. This is simply a warning not to expect to time travel back to “3 days of Peace & Music.” Instead of the wonderland of your dreams, it’ll probably be more like every other festival you’ve seen.