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!

HaHaHI said...
May 10, 2010 at 8:24 pm
yes! I love it.
songofheaven said...
May 1, 2010 at 10:12 pm
I agree! With Hendrix, there was the whole peaceful hippie culture surrounding him, the Grateful Dead, and other artists like Neil Young and Janis Joplin. With the Jonas Brothers, all I think of, as far as culture goes, is little girls talking about some clothing store or Nick Jonas's face. I dunno, I guess that whole atmosphere of the late 60's just isn't there anymore, not like it used to be. The Jonas Brothers may put on a decent show, but no one remembers the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC... (more »)
SunShineSparkle said...
Apr. 30, 2010 at 3:04 pm

dude woodstock i am so down, get a bunch of amps, ask around for peopls favorite bands; metal, techno, alternative, country, rap it dont matter! or even better find out the people that played at woodstock and are still alive to see if their down myspace or go on facebook and ask if there willing to play for free, get people to buy a bunch of food, find sum desert area were no one would mind the noise. tell everone to put the word out there and make it happen!

as ive said i am so down t... (more »)

songofheaven said...
Apr. 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm
I know exactly what you mean! The "greats" of our generation hardly compare to the greats of our parents/grandparents. If it were upto me, we'd still all be wearing bell-bottoms and fringe, and listening to Hendrix and the Grateful Dead. That's my version of awesome. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a bunch of Justin Bieber crazed girls, so you're right. I don't think Woodstock could ever happen again. It's pretty sad, actually.
margierose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 6:43 pm
I complettly agree with you! our generation has nothing to show cultural-wise. We are a generation who wanders around the mall for hours, goes to Abercrombie and listens to Miley Cyrus. Most people don't seem to care about anything outside of their little teeny-bopper world. 
LovelybutDangerous said...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm
If I could go back in time it would be to go to Woodstock, but anyway. My suggestion, us TeenInk kids get together, and just create the new Woodstock generation.
Azalea27 replied...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 7:58 pm
Great Idea :)
notebookgirl said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 5:07 pm
love your article. i never knew much about woodstock except for the music/hippies/drugs generalization but it acutually sounds intersting. you also made a few points that i completely agree with. one: this generation is much different from the teenagers when woodstock was around sports, studying, school etc. I also think that getting that many computer-improved disney channel voices together in one place would be downright embarassing. keep writing you are very talented
kcorbammej said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 8:13 pm
My town has a sort of "modern day Woodstock". Just thought I'd let you know. :] http ://summercampmusic .com /
kcorbammej said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm
My town has a "modern-day" Woodstock. I just thought I'd let you know. :] http ://summercampfestival .com /
oracle-of-nonsense This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm
It's funny how things work out. Before I read this month's mag, I'd been thinking about Woodstock, and our generation taking a stand, and how we could never have Woodstock the way we are now. And then I read your amazingly written piece, and I loved it so much I taped it to my bedroom door. Thanks for giving me hope!
dReameRboy13 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm
Ya know, this article has nothing to do with the Jonas Brothers (aside from the small reference), so why are all of you making it out to be? The point was that back in the day, music was more than music. You should be discussing THAT instead of the Jo Bro's! :D
Taylor(: This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 9:11 pm
people. the author is not dissing on the "jobros." they're telling us how less of an impact music of today is going to have. who will we remember when we're fifty years old?! skanky girls, made up boys? there will be no one exceptional, no one to change the way the world looks at itself.
notebookgirl replied...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm
thank you for that comment. i never really understood why the music industry today annoys me so much. well you've just summed it all up for me. there are no Michel Jacksons or Rolling Stones or George Straits they are all just actors trying to make more money
Eden H. replied...
Aug. 30, 2010 at 10:46 am
thats not toally true. though a lot of famous singers these days are "bad" and just actors trying to make more money, but a lot of singers these days are respectable and have meaningful songs.
Jordan901278 said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 7:52 pm
Oh, and i agree with your Jonas Brother's point. Sure their music brings a lot of feeling and whatever to a lot of people so i respect them. Although, their music is just another genetic remake of some other guy's music. They're slaves to establishment and money. And for that i don't like them.
Jordan901278 said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm
I'm so happy that there's somebody out there like me. I'm extremely happy you got published in the magazine. Great article, great points of view, great everything. A Woodstock today just wouldn't work, despite my dreams. But we just have to at least come close. I don't want my life to run it's course and the only great event i witnessed was Kanye West being the arrogant moron he is and interrupting an award show. I want another concert LIKE Woodstock. No greedy coor... (more »)
Skaii This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 25, 2010 at 10:13 pm
I totally agree with you. The music now days is so shallow compared to bands back then. It's unfortunate :(
mrsjoejonas said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm
the jonas brothers put on a GREAT show. u can like music now and still like that kind of music. I DO!
Maren K. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 18, 2009 at 6:05 pm
Well, I don't deny the Jonas Brothers are entertaining, but I don't think they possess the same cultural importance as bands like The Jimi Hendrix Experience did.
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