I Remember Woodstock

Dodds and friends on Hawley Drive in 1969
Dodds and friends on Hawley Drive in 1969

Left to right, my mother, my brothers John and Fran, Brad Fox, my sister Amy’s four little buddies and Dave Mahoney

This is one of the first photos I took with my first camera. My father brought it home from the Camera Shop at Kodak. I took the photo in the summer of 69 but I don’t have any photos from Woodstock so I’m guessing I got this camera after the festival. Spevak had called me for some quotes for the article he was writing on Woodstock for the paper and then the editor emailed me to ask if I had any photos. Whatever I said was cut out by his editor but we did celebrate the 40th anniversary by seeing the director’s cut of the movie at the George Eastman House last weekend. They have a crankin’ sound system in the Dryden Theater.

As we sat there watching the movie I kept trying to remember who it was that had recently told me they were in in the movie. It wasn’t until near the end of the movie that I remembered that Holly Clarke from my high school class was one of the nude woman swimming in the pond. We got there a day early but still managed to get stuck in traffic. When it got unbearable we parked the car and started walking. I remember a long line of people going in one direction and an equally long line going in the opposite direction. No one was sure where the festival site was and we watched people turn around and switch directions on a hunch. I don’t remember packing any food, clothes or sleeping gear but we did have some acid they we planned on taking at the show. We couldn’t wait for that and took it the morning of the day before the show. We wandered around and tried purchasing some canned goods that a local family had arranged along the railing of their porch. It all looked so strange and we weren’t sure what we wanted or even how to conduct the transaction. We found the festival site and hung around in the blazing sun while the sound crew conducted an ungodly sound check. There were scattered groups of people with dogs on the hillside and the animals were howling at the stage.

We left before the show was over because Dave Mahoney thought we had better get out before they ran out of food. On the way out we bought some mescaline from some high school friends that we ran into. Back in Rochester we went to an afternoon matinee of “2001” at the old Stutson Theater where Herrema’s is now and took the blue capsules. We were the only “adults” in the theater and we laid down on the floor in front of the screen. I have no idea what that thing was all about. I haven’t done any of that stuff since 69 but it kinda stays with you.

Richie Havens was great in the movie. Canned Heat sounded like the inventors of sludge rock. The Who tore it up but looked pretty silly. I never like the Tommy stuff. Only Queen can mix rock and opera. Ten Years After were wankers. Sha Na Na was hideous and Joe Cooker was over the top. (Is that a Beatles song.? “High with a little help from friends.”) Peggi leaned over and said, “You have to admit that was a good song from pre-bloated Crosby Stills and Nash” and I admitted it. The Jefferson Airplane tracks were goofy one. The rest must have sucked. They could be pretty rough live. I saw their Volunteers tour. I never had any of Santana records but he kicked ass. His drummer was amazing. Sly, Janis and Jimi were all great. It was pretty good show.

1 Comment

One Reply to “I Remember Woodstock”

  1. Judging from the photo you guys were very athletic, basketball, baseball and soccer.I remember Paul, you playing on my soft ball team for a while ~ third base (decent defense) and a dead pull hitter, Bad Fox played for a bit also. I didn’t hear about Woodstock until it was in progress, I was working construction and asked why some of the guys weren’t on the job and was told they were at that Woodstock thing, and I never took any chemicals… nno rreallyy

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