Our Generation's Woodstock This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 4, 2009
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The anniversary of the legendary music festival known as Woodstock seems to have passed without much more than a reminiscent remark or sigh by many in our parents' generation. But thanks to famed director Ang Lee's movie, “Taking Woodstock,” members of our generation are starting to take more interest. At least I am. As a music lover, the thought of Woodstock makes me salivate. Imagining a “free” music fest where all my favorite bands play makes me want to abandon my cozy lifestyle, strip down to my undies, and roll around in the mud for three days, which is essentially what happened. But I'm curious: could Woodstock ever happen again?

First, a little history. In 1969 a couple of dudes in New York got together and said, “Hey, let's throw a party. We'll invite Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, a bunch of other bands, and 50,000 of our closest friends and ­family.” Or something like that. In actuality, 500,000 people showed up. And it rained. But did that stop anything? No! In fact, it added to the magnificence and (to use a cliché) “grooviness” of the event. ­Attendees (who were not much older than we are) gathered to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.” They turned on their sensitivity to the world, tuned in to their environment and subconscious, and dropped out of conventional, mainstream society.

I know, I know. Just a bunch of hippie mumbo-jumbo laced with LSD, right? I think not. True, there were drugs at Woodstock, but illegal substances aside, the music festival provided an escape, an outlet for struggling young adults to cope with their wacky world. Woodstock was essentially a three-day adolescent convention that gave people a sense of belonging.

So what do we have? As a member of the generation born around the 1990s, I cannot think of one unifying experience. Yes, we're still young, therefore we still have time to “bond,” but I'll reiterate my question: could Woodstock ever happen again? In short, no, for ­several reasons.

Despite all our parents' complaining, they had something we don't seem to have anymore: time. It seems like most teens today are playing sports, studying for some standardized test, or doing homework nonstop. During summer, there are camps, internships, college visits, travel. Spare time is for sleeping and eating, not driving for hours and hours to some concert.

Next, funding. The expense of putting on a big show like that today would be substantial. Corporate sponsors would be an unfortunate necessity. But could you envision Jimi Hendrix playing his famous rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the AT&T VIP stage “co-sponsored by Starbucks and Nike”? I don't think that would be too consistent with the image of Woodstock or the philosophy of dropping out of mainstream society.

So say we had the money and the time. Who would play? Woodstock featured 32 awesome, well-known bands who had an intense impact on youth culture. Who've we got? The Jonas Brothers? Beyoncé? Miley Cyrus? Kanye West? I'm sorry, but if their music ­reflects the mythos of our generation, it's a pretty sad story.

Well, so that's that. We're a hopeless, dispassionate group doomed to forever seek a space that provides us with a sense of belonging more meaningful than Facebook or MySpace. Music festivals will be for hipsters, and by the time we're 20 the most culturally significant event we attended will have been a stop on the Jonas Brothers' world tour.

Or we can chose to break out of the mold that is slowly beginning to form us. We can exercise outdoors, read a book by somebody who died 200 years ago, or volunteer for an organization whose work is important to us. Maybe Woodstock is a silly example, but the point is, how are we going to figure out who we are? The world, according to scientific data, is three billion years old. That's a lot of zeros. The average human lifespan? About 80 or 90 years. That's not much time in comparison. Let's make it worthwhile and put our mark on this planet's history. And a blowout party certainly wouldn't hurt either.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 41 comments. Post your own now!

crazyballerina said...
Sept. 30, 2012 at 8:56 am
Pitchfork music festival is a pretty amazing experience if you ever go :)
redhead379 said...
Apr. 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm
I completely agree. I go to Warped Tour looking for the same experience and acceptance that was so common at Woodstock, and its hard to find. Sure, you're there with people who want the same acceptance, but it isn't the same. Warped goes around the country, so you don't get everyone in the same place, and the cost prevent many people from going. The sponsored stages and booths everywhere do take away from the feeling of freedom. I don't know anyone of the bands personally, but from interviews i'... (more »)
AssertivePeace said...
Feb. 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm
There are actually plenty of great bands that aren't well known to society. You could have Coldplay, The Black Keys and.. well... underground bands :). The thing is people don't take initiative because of all this technology. We get lazy
KatsK This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm
I agree. As one of my teachers said, we don't really know who we are as a generation, it's too soon for that. "The Facebook generation"? Nah, too motivational. Yeah, practically all of our "music artists" just make the same songs, with different words about love and nightclubs and _______ (fill-in the uninspiring blank). Woodstock would be a cool thing to do.
Thoreau420 said...
Jul. 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm
I hear you man, I wish I was in the 70's. I want a Woodstock moment so badly, but I'm so afraid it will never happen. The issue is, we need something to rebel against. Woodstock had Vietnam, then again, we have the unjust war in Iraq, but I saw no rebels, no marches, I just saw a bunch of impressionable idiots saying eitheir "Terrorists are bad" or "War isn't good" I want my revolution, means I'll probably have to organize it then.
William W. replied...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm
So you want revolution, but you're not a leader? You and millions of others.
charlieskitty said...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm
honestly it woodn,t be that hard. all it takes is a little time and effort.i think i'll give it a try.
Jessica M. replied...
Feb. 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm
good luck. now that i think about it, it wouldn't be hard to have a day dedicated to good times and great music. And i don't belive that all modern artists are horrible, i love Plain White T's and Owl City and Eliza Doolittle, and am not ashamed to say it, but I also shamelesly love The Beatles and Queen and ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). And why does it need to be with a bunch of strangers? Why can't we just pool some money to get a spacy place to use for a day or two and p... (more »)
americanteen97 replied...
Jun. 4, 2011 at 11:54 am
and get coldplay. they are an amazing band that...if you just listen they are wow.
SkyDeerThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 9:34 am
I wish woodstock could happen again. I love old music and personally think new music is junk! We just need to be kids.
Ryn O. said...
Nov. 8, 2010 at 4:17 pm
Well said!  I've been thinking about that too lately- every generation but ours seems to have some sort of unconventional group but what do we have?  Our generation lacks a cause, we stand for nothing and that's going to hurt us in the future
Azalea27 said...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm
I am bittersweet about this article, reason being because: (on the good side) it makes me feel like there are other people like me who wish there was another Woodstock festival for our generation. (And on the sad side) makes me realize (even though in the back of my head I already knew) that it will never happen. Another reason I think I must've gotten stuck in the wrong generation.
yanaz replied...
Sept. 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm
You've taken my exact words out of my brain and wrote thwm down more eloquently tahn I could. Thanks.
William W. replied...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm
Cynical and true.
br123 said...
Aug. 15, 2010 at 10:40 pm
I love this article. This is everything I believe in and it would be incredible for there to be another concert similar to Woodstock. 
♥♫music4ever25♥♫ said...
Jul. 28, 2010 at 2:05 am
what about a digital woodstock? after all aren't we the "digital age" in some way we could all be together but still far apart.....part of the message of the orginal....i have a feeling that if our generation were to have a recreation that a lot of bands would be up for it. mostly because they might feel the same way...that the commerical crap they peddal just isnt right and wont last. because of the complexity of it having it in a digital way might make it simplier yet still let us give our own... (more »)
William W. replied...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm
Brilliant. Got any website-making abilities?
♥♫music4ever25♥♫ replied...
Nov. 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm
lawlz. if only. my extent of website making is my tumblr....
Bethani said...
Jun. 14, 2010 at 10:24 pm
There is a woodstock re creation of the original woodstock in July 10-11, 2010. It's in Toronto. Look up "woodstock concert" in google and you'll find it. 
William W. replied...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm
And that had such an amazing turnout.
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