Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation | Chicago Reader

Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation

Marking the 50th anniversary of the legendary Woodstock music festival in the summer of 1969, this film offers a moving remembrance of the people, music, and extraordinary circumstances that aligned to produce a cultural touchstone. Though the 1970 documentary Woodstock remains the definitive portrait of the event, the stories woven through this retrospective carry the additional weight and wisdom of time gone by. Director Barak Goodman conveys the narrative entirely through archival footage and off-screen commentary from the festival's organizers, attendees, and performers. The effect is complete immersion, with Goodman steeping the viewer in a living, breathing memory. We see for ourselves how a capitalist enterprise became a free concert and political act when 400,000 people—united in being anti-Vietnam War and pro-sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll—showed up outside of Bethel, New York. The sprawling music and art fair was mostly peaceful, and the movie hints at why: a palpable, shared sense of purpose, resulting in mass magnanimity. This answer also raises an uncomfortable question: what do people go to music festivals for today?

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