I was 19 that summer, a college frosh and a full-on hippie chick. I bought a ticket to Woodstock (at $20 it was quite an expense for me living on $150 a month from my work-study job and living in a shared apartment and getting around on my bike.) Some friends were planning to drive up but as the dates approached there were rumors it might not come together, then it turned out the guy who owned the Ford van we were going to drive to NY from Pittsburgh had to work the Thursday evening before the concert started so we could not leave until Friday morning, Then the Tuesday before that my parents announced they were driving to Michigan to visit the grandparents and cousins my age and to hit the Lake Michigan beaches. So I shrugged and opted for the sure thing , sold my ticket to another friend and packed into the family station wagon to head west.
Then I recall watching the news coverage of the concert from the TV at my aunt and uncle’s house and being bummed I was not there. But by the time I got back to Pittsburgh the next week I found out that the crew I would have been driving with got stuck in that massive traffic gridlock on the New York Thruway, then got lost on back roads and other gridlocks, spent Friday night camped in a cornfield, Saturday back creeping through traffic before abandoning the truck and trying to walk to the site. Slept again along the side of the road, got rained on and showed up early Sunday when the show was winding down and it was all a muddy mess.
So it would have been cool to say now that I was there, but in retrospect it would have been a rather exhausting adventure with not a lot of reward. Though I would have liked to have heard Hendrix’s Sunday morning solo rendition of “The Star Spangle Banner” live, a recording that still sends chills up my spine and is the only true version *for me) of the National Anthem.
FOOTNOTE: In 2009 a friend and I arranged a 40th anniversary Woodstock party in her large semi wooded back yard and screen porch. Scoured thrift shops and party stores for “hippie” theme decor, provided music of the era from bands present at the concert, outdoor lounge areas with cushions and blankets, asked all our friends to dress in appropriate garb, bring food and musical instruments and get groovy. People didn’t really get “far out” with “peace and love” until it got dark and we turned on the strobing psychedelic light machine I had found (good old Spencer’s Gifts) – nothing like tumbling multi-colored lights in partial darkness to get people to shed their dancing inhibitions.