It was the weekend that shaped the image of a “Woodstock Generation.” And that image would echo, appeal and provoke for generations to come.
To many who went or wished they did, the pivotal festival of “peace and music” 50 years ago remains an inspiring moment of counterculture community and youthful freethinking.
“We went for the music and found something so much more, and so much more important — camaraderie,” says Karen Breda, who was 17 when she went to Woodstock. She recalls feeling part of “a generation that felt like nothing could stop us. Peace. Love. The whole thing.”
Some other Americans saw Woodstock as an outrageous display of indulgence and insouciance in a time of war. And some didn’t look to Woodstock to celebrate their own sense of music and identity.
“There was no one baby boomer generation. There was no one approach to what Woodstock meant,” says David Farber, a University of Kansas professor of American history. But Woodstock became an “aspirational vision of what countercultural youth thought they could achieve in the United States.”