Monday, August 15, 2016
Where did the peace and love go?
And nowhere were they deeper than in the small town of Woodstock itself. Located in upstate New York, Woodstock had a reputation for bohemian non-conformity, as the site of an early 20th-century Utopian community, Byrdcliffe, and home to a number of musicians, including Bob Dylan – a fact that had drawn huge numbers of hippies to the town, to the increasing consternation of locals.
By 1969, anti-hippie hysteria had reached epidemic proportions, with one town dignitary describing the typical hippie as "a creature full of communicable diseases who speaks an illiterate language", and a local meditation centre being burned down in an arson attack. When a local entrepreneur announced plans for an "Aquarian Exposition" of arts and music, the shutters came down with a resounding crash. So it was that the Woodstock Festival was obliged to relocate to the hamlet of Bethel, 60 miles away.