The new documentary film “Woodstock” follows the events leading up to, during, and after the famous 1969 music festival. If you studied your American History properly or lived during the time, you know 1969 was a very volatile time in our history, with conflicts over civil rights, women’s rights, and the conflict over the war in Vietnam. The country had also been effected by the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. The film follows the story of Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, Joel Rosenman and John P. Roberts and their efforts to hold a music festival in upstate New York they dub an “Aquarian Exposition” that will feature 3 days of peace and music. After failed efforts to hold the festival in Woodstock and a couple of other upstate towns, the festival finally found a home on some vast farm land in Bethel, New York. Viewers get to see how difficult it was to even find a location for the event, and how the selling of tickets was a first successful, but eventually didn’t matter due to all the “gatecrashers.” It was also fascinating to see all the acts the promoters wanted for the show, and how many, including The Doors, declined. Once the acts were chosen, the promoters began the huge task of building the stage and planning all the logistics for the upcoming show. It made me laugh to see how attending such a massive event for 3 days only cost $18.00 in advance or $24.00 at the gate, You can’t even attend a Comic Con for those prices, much less an all star concert! The film features a ton of never-before-seen footage, and the stage construction continued on a 24 hour basis right up until the concert began. The concert was a pivotal moment for the young generation at the time, who had become disenchanted with the current affairs in the U.S. and the world, and just wanted to have 3 days of music, peace and love. What they got was a moment in time that has gone down in history as an unforgettable musical extravaganza featuring the likes of The Who, Joni Mitchell, Santana, Janice Joplin, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix, among others. What the music lovers and the promoters did not expect, were the 400,000 people how descended on the farm. With that many people trying to get to the event, traffic was backed up for miles, and was so bad people just abandoned their cars and walked to the event. The footage of the traffic and the mass of people headed to the event is fascinating. On the second and third days of the event, all you can see is a mass of people. It would be like a city of 400,000 all going on a picnic to the same place at the same time. With this “city” of people at the event, the organizers had to deal with a food shortage, health issues, and heavy rain on the final day. The food shortage was helped when the good citizens of Bethel, sent every type of food to the event, showing a caring attitude for the invading young people. The owner of the farm, Max Yasgur became a hero to the crowd when he was brought on stage and thanked for the use of his land. His response was one of peace and love toward the gathered masses. The film shows many of the attendees, and interviews several who attended the event, revealing how they felt to be part of such a historic happening. We are also treated to several clips of some of the performers, who had to be air-lifted to the concert via helicopters because of the massive traffic jam. Despite the mass amount of attendees at the event, it was remarkably peaceful, and there were only two recorded fatalities, one medical related and the other from a tragic accident involving a tractor. There were also two people born at the event. Can you imagine saying “yes, I was born at the Woodstock concert”? I really enjoyed this remarkable behind-the-scenes look a the famous musical festival. If you enjoy this film, I also recommend watching “Taking Woodstock“, a 2009 film following a young man and his family who find themselves in the middle of the historic event, and how it impacts their lives. Max Yasgur, the owner of the farm where the festival was held, stated at the time, “If we join them (the concert goers who had peace, love and music on their minds), we can turn those adversities that are problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future.” His words from 1969 still ring true in 2019. “Woodstock” is now streaming on Netflix.