I don’t mean Charlie Brown’s little feathered friend.
I’m wondering what has happened in the last 40 years since that well known three days of peace and music at Max Yasgur’s farm when Jimi played his version of that anthem and Country Joe and the Fish ragged on for a peaceful world while Janice sang the blues.
I was not old enough to attend Woodstock but I had owned the double album and believed I’d just been born on the wrong continent ten years too late. My old hippy heart loved the years in tertiary education during the 70’s when long hair and flared jeans were a poor substitute for a missed flower power time blown away in the wind. Protests against international conglomerates had been my meagre offering to the times that were a changing and… yes, I know Dylan didn’t do Woodstock… but he should have!
Growing old disgracefully
However, a few years ago, I decided that I should attempt to grow old gracefully and leave the outdoor rock festivals like the Big Day Out to my children and their friends and so it was with some ‘turning back time’ excitement, I recently delighted in the Taubertal Festival. This summer music festival is held in the tourist heartland of Germany and has about 15000 visitors daily with people coming from a variety of backgrounds from across the world to enjoy music over the three days.
While most of the crowd are younger people, it is not unusual to see family groups or even a few of us who remember Carlos Santana from his younger days. I felt quite relaxed amongst the sea of denim, queues at the loos, dancing and thanks to it being an outdoor festival… a little rain and a lotta mud. I had finally found MY Woodstock!The music had changed with the times and instead of Baez and Cocker we partied with The Hives and The Prodigy. On stage arrogance and aggression impacted between bragging lights and blasting sound while off stage the collective paid due homage to their heroes.
I commented upon the peaceful politeness of the festival and was advised that behaviour at festivals back home apparently is quite different. Apparently, the peace, love and harmony are replaced with crowd fuelled fights and when drinks are spilt, as happens in a crowd, then bodies may be too! Why?
I love Australia!
I love our humour our brashness and our youth. I love that we think that we’re all grown up now. I love our harsh lighting because it shows our true colours. I love that we can do some things so well sometimes. I love that mostly, we are quite healthy, wealthy and fairly wise. I love our variety of backgrounds that have all contributed to who we are today. I don’t love Australia’s geographical distance from the rest of the world and yet I do in times of war or natural disasters. I don’t love travelling for ages to get to work in the morning but I do love that we have so much space that we may all have a piece of it someday. I don’t love politicians too much but I do love my right to support or knock any who dares to climb the ladder. I love being able to chop tall poppies.
I love our freedom; our choices; our richness; our openness!
We are a very lucky country and so I need to ask what has happened? Have we forgotten how great it feels to get along? Why are the contents of a cup worth more than the person holding it? Where are the peace, love and harmony at our festivals? Shouldn’t each generation build onto the positives and grow forth and multiply? Where has the essence of Woodstock gone?Joe Cocker sang ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’ and Joan Baez sang ‘O Happy Day’. I think I’m going to listen to some old songs for a while.