By the time we got to Woodstock: 40 years later

Thu Aug 6, 2009 3:38pm EDT
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By Steve James

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Woodstock lives -- on stage, on film, in books and TV news clips, and forever in the memory of anyone who came of age in the '60s.

Forty years after the three-day music festival that celebrated peace and love during a time of protest and anger at the Vietnam War, Woodstock nostalgia is in full commercial flow.

A little ironic, considering that the festival famously became a "free concert" after it drew hundreds of thousands more people than the 200,000 that organizers had planned at $18 per ticket.

Survivors from some of the acts that played Aug 15-17, 1969 will again take the stage on what was Yasgur's Farm, but is now the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in upstate New York.

The "Heroes of Woodstock" show on Aug 15 features the Levon Helm Band, Jefferson Starship, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Big Brother and the Holding Company and Country Joe McDonald.

Meanwhile the movie "Woodstock" has been re-released in a 40th anniversary director's cut, along with the 2-CD soundtrack, while Rhino Records has put out a 6-disc box set featuring every performance at Woodstock.

And later this month, director Ang Lee will debut "Taking Woodstock," a movie about a man working at his parents' motel who inadvertently sets in motion the concert.

But for many, the definitive story of that Summer of Love is "The Road to Woodstock," a book by Michael Lang, one of the organizers of the festival.   Continued...

<p>The cover of Martin Lang's "The Road to Woodstock". REUTERS/HarperCollins/Handout</p>