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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Woodstock: Three Days That Defined A Generation

Airs Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Bethel, New York, August 1969. The crowd and people sitting on the sound towe...

Credit: Courtesy of Elliott Landy/The Image Works

Above: Bethel, New York, August 1969. The crowd and people sitting on the sound tower. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the concert that became a touchstone for a generation. This new film brings the three-day concert to life through the voices of those who were present at what became the defining moment of the counterculture revolution.

Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of The Concert That Defined A Generation

In August 1969, half a million young people from all walks of life journeyed from every corner of the country to a dairy farm in upstate New York for a concert unprecedented in scope and influence.

“Woodstock” examines the tumultuous decade that led to those three historic days — years that saw the nation deeply divided by Vietnam and racial, generational and sexual politics — through the voices of those who were present for the event that would become the defining moment of the counterculture revolution.

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary, "Woodstock: Three Days That Defined A Generation," premiered Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019.

Trailer | Woodstock

In August 1969, nearly half a million people gathered at a farm in upstate New York to hear music. What happened over the next three days, however, was far more than a concert. This new film brings the three-day concert to life through the voices of those who were present at what became the defining moment of the counterculture revolution.

“For three days in August, 1969, the values of ‘peace and love,’ loudly championed by the counterculture movement, were actually put to the test in the miserable conditions at Woodstock,” said Director Barak Goodman. “The more than 400,000 people who attended the festival proved that they were more than just words. For a surprising number of people, that brief encounter with sacrifice, cooperation and generosity changed their lives. I think Woodstock continues to inspire because the grace demonstrated there was real and enduring.”

“Unlike Michael Wadleigh’s classic 1970 documentary, our film turns the cameras around, into the audience,” said AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Executive Producer Mark Samels. “By focusing on individuals — from concert goers to security guards to performers to local residents — Woodstock expands our understanding of the event as not only an unparalleled musical milestone, but a once-in-a-century cultural phenomena that served as a coda to the sixties and a harbinger of the decades to come.”

Interviewees include festival producers and staff including Donald Goldmacher, Carol Green, Michael Lang, John Morris, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman; activist Wavy Gravy; festival attendees and others.

Wavy Gravy: “Please Chief” of Woodstock

Hugh Romney, otherwise known as Wavy Gravy, was an American figure of the 1960s counter culture. Gravy helped establish the “Hog Farm” commune in California. In 1967 the Hog Farm began traveling the country as entertainers in converted school buses. Then the Woodstock organizers invited the group to their music festival in 1969.

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC:

Listen to the music that played at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in August 1969

WATCH ON YOUR SCHEDULE:

This full episode is currently available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport.

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JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and you can follow @AmExperiencePBS on Twitter. #AmericanExperiencePBS #WoodstockPBS

CREDITS:

Directed by Barak Goodman. Co-director: Jamila Ephron. Written by Barak Goodman and Don Kelsey. Edited by Don Kelsey. Produced by Jamila Ephron, Barak Goodman and Mark Samels. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is a production of WGBH Boston. Senior Producer: Susan Bellows. Executive Producer: Mark Samels.

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