This week is the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival. I was alive at the time but too young to attend. However, there was a place in Saint Michael's Cemetery in Springfield's ol' Pine Point where we kids used to party after dark which we called Woodstock. I'm not sure exactly why, although like Woodstock there used to be plenty of pot smoking and occasionally Karl Mayfield would show up with a guitar.
It seems weird to me now that we used to party in a cemetery, but at the time we thought nothing of it.
I'm surprised by all the attention the anniversary is receiving. The Academy of Music in Northampton is showing the film version this weekend.
I was never a big fan of the movie, which despite its excellent music is otherwise preachy and sloppily filmed. Especially annoying is the split screen technique they used. Oh well, I guess you had to be there.
Someone who was there is promoter Michael Lang, who came to Odyssey Bookstore in South Hadley for a book signing recently and posed with local writer Alex Ross.
This is Lang (right) at Woodstock with Wavy Gravy.
Of course the whole thing is being commercialized. Have you bought your official Woodstock sneakers yet?
After the big bash of '69 there were subsequent concerts held under the Woodstock name, each of which had their musical moments (Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Woodstock 1999 below) but of course none of them could compare to the original.
The only Western Massachusetts resident to perform at Woodstock was Arlo Guthrie (below with Western Mass restauranteur Alice Brock). In recent years Guthrie has been a supporter of libertarian causes, and released this statement in 2008 in support of libertarian presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul.
“I love this guy. Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of The United States had he been there. I'm with him, because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago. I look forward to the day when we can work out the differences we have with the same revolutionary vision and enthusiasm that is our American legacy.”
I like this old photo of the original Masslive crew in 1998: Jaime Damico, Scott Brodeur and Dan Muse. Dig how the screen is showing a primitive version of the site.
I'm sorry to hear that former Masslive boss Jeff Jarvis has cancer. May he make a full and speedy recovery.
Speaking of Masslive, I ran into Greg Saulmon the other day, whose Local Buzz has a great series on what is really going down regarding gang prevention in Springfield.
Check it out here.
I am surprised and saddened by the closing of Dynamite Records on Main Street in Northampton. For decades it was a mainstay in the basement of Thornes, but apparently couldn't make it when they struck out on their own.
Once upon a time it seemed like there was a record store on nearly every corner in the Valley, and where there wasn't a record store there was a book store. Now both are nearly extinct; killed by the internet.
Speaking of the basement of Thornes, have you ever been to Acme Surplus? They have the cheapest batteries in town.
A poster lying on the ground.
Saturday night in front of First Church.
Last night in front of City Hall.
Here's another gem from Woodstock.