After an especially brutal winter for most of us, summer is FINALLY here! We’re well into June, and starting to feel safe enough to pack up the scarves and mittens (unless you’re reading this from somewhere down under…in which case – sorry, don’t mean to rub it in). With the opportunity to once again bask in the warmth of the sun, summer also brings with it annual music festivals and cute boho fashion! Each year many of us eagerly await the heat and humidity of the season for the chance to take a brief timeout from the responsibilities of our adult lives. We’ll throw on an adorable peasant blouse with something denim, braid our hair, and head for the nearest muddy field to enjoy cold beverages and loud music.
Of course, it’s impossible to mention summer music festivals without bringing to mind the mother of all counter-culture celebrations. We’re talking Woodstock, of course. It was one of those once-in-a-generation events whose mutual attendance – even more than forty years later – can turn complete strangers into long lost brethren. Were you at Woodstock? Yeah, man, I was there. Groovy.
According to vintage Woodstock posters, it was to be “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” For the most part – it was. The festival drew the likes of Santana, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Jimi Hendrix, and many more. The list of musical icons goes on and on. Originally, the concert was expected to draw approximately 50,000 music lovers. A late change in venue due to protests from local residents forced festival organizers to make a decision. They could either improve the perimeter fencing (keeping out those without tickets) or they could finish building the stage. The fence came down, and Woodstock became one of the largest “free” concerts in history with more than 400,000 attendees.
As the festival grew, so did the fears of state and local law enforcement. Reportedly, then Governor Nelson Rockefeller threatened to call in 10,000 New York National Guards, and Sullivan County was declared a state of emergency. Newspapers reported on the traffic jams and minor law breaking caused by an influx of young concert goers, but as the festival continued even its detractors admitted to the surprising sense of comradery displayed by the youth in attendance. Governor Rockefeller was talked out of bringing in the National Guard – who, as it turns out, weren’t needed. There were no fights. Further, despite being unprepared for the rain and the sheer number of attendees concert goers shared food and water with one another and generally chose to enjoy the experience rather than fret about the mud or facilities.
So with the best of Bohemia in mind, I was inspired by those pioneers of peace with this week’s Throwback Thursday! You simply can’t do hippie style unless you have some seriously far-out necklaces to layer. I’ve chosen one of SJ’s oh-so-funky turquoise strand necklaces (if this one doesn’t strike your fancy, find more here). In addition, I included a set of three earthy stone necklaces – why choose one when you can have all three at this price? Finally, no bohemian babe can be seen without lots of layered bracelets – I chose a set that includes both thin metallic and chunky wooden bangles!
Alas, Woodstock was before my time, and despite attempts by subsequent generations, it has yet to be replicated. No matter how awesome the fashion or how epic the music – at the end of the day Woodstock was just a concert. It was just as loud and muddy and (no doubt) smelly as any other music festival before or since. What set it apart – and makes it one of the most collectively memorable events of the latter twentieth century was best stated by Max Yasgur. They were his muddy fields that were trampled by droves of hippies. You might think he would be angry about seeing 350,000 more people on his property than he had been told to expect. He wasn’t. He expressed his surprise that nearly a half million people could be thrown together in less than ideal circumstances and choose to enjoy the music, and not give in to fighting or looting or victimizing one another. He said, “If we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future.”