Posted by Scott Foster on

3 days of Peace and Music in White Lake, New York.
That’s how they advertise it.
50 years ago, last weekend.

Max Yasgur’s Dairy Farm in Bethel, New York is a beautiful natural outdoor amphitheater and on August 15, 16, and 17, 1969 Woodstock changes the world.

People start showing up the week before to camp out and get good seats in front of the stage before the construction is even finished. The fences aren’t even up.

Bethel is a little town. It’s still a little town. Smaller than Madison. Maybe 5000?

Not ready for half a million people to show up.

All the big rock stars of the day are there from Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, to The Who and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Crosby, Stills, and Nash play their first live gig together at Woodstock. It is big time!

Not enough food, not enough water, not enough plumbing, not enough port-a-potties! But even as big of a mess as it is, it works! They pull it off exactly as advertised.

3 days of Peace and Music—and nobody gets hurt.

The Presbyterian church I served in Oklahoma before here—had a similar experience.

The 2013 Gentlemen of the Road tour with Mumford and Sons plays in Guthrie, Oklahoma in a big field about 3 blocks from the church. 35,000 people!

Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, HAIM, The Vaccines, Alabama Shakes and more—and it is big deal.

Imagine the population of Madison quadrupling in a weekend and you get the idea of the Gentlemen of the Road. You sort of get the idea of Woodstock.

There’s a great Woodstock PBS documentary on Netflix and I watched it over the weekend.

It is a bigger deal than just the music. It’s about young people coming together to be with their people. Like-minded, anti-Vietnam War, anti-establishment, pro-love, peace and music. Everybody sing! “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody Get Together and love one another right now.” (The Youngbloods)

Love. Peace. Music.
Very Jesus-like.

Maybe it’s something like what it feels like to the 5000 (plus women and children) on that hillside—another natural amphitheater—off the shores of the Sea of Galilee 2000 years ago. 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. 12 baskets of left overs.

“Good morning! What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000…we must be in heaven, man!” (Hugh Romney aka Wavy Gravy, the leader of the Hogfarm Commune who are hired as “security”)

"This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place, and I think you people have proven something to the world: that half a million kids can come together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but three days of fun and music and I God bless you for it!" (Max Yasgur)


“We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” (*Joni Mitchell)
Right on, Joni.
Maybe this is what Jesus has in mind.

Grace & Peace,



I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm *
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an' get my soul free 

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
back to the garden


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