1969: Rock music festivals – “unwashed hippies”, drugs and violence


Woodstock Festival


Altamont Free Concert

JP: I was unaware of these events prior to their occurrence. I enjoyed the music of that era, but I would not have been one to have attended one of these events.

Recollections and comments about the events:

  • I remember seeing many pictures of Woodstock after the event (probably in Newsweek magazine). Woodstock was a muddy mess of humanity. Drugs were an issue at Woodstock and several died. The event was billed as “Three Days of Peace and Music”. This was not the kind of “peace” I wanted then (nor do I today!). Music is not morally neutral and the rock music of that era was no different. To highlight the pagan nature of the event, consider that Swami Satchidananda provided an invocation to start the event!
  • Altamont Free Concert is best known for having been marred by considerable violence, including one homicide and three accidental deaths: two caused by a hit-and-run car accident and one by drowning in an irrigation canal (Wiki article quote). The Altamont image above shows Hells Angels using pool cues beating someone.
  • One writer commented on these events: “Altamont became, whether fairly or not, a symbol for the death of the Woodstock Nation” (See Wiki article for source)

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