I would like to address the "thugs" who laid waste to the three days of peace, love and debit cards.
Your riotous actions have restored my faith in humanity.
Say what you will about the relative stupidity and futility of violence, but the thugs unwittingly succeeded.
By using "peace candles" to set fire to cars and merchandise trailers, they ensured that Rage Against the Machine will never get a product endorsement deal. Good.
The '99 venture was huge, with many forgettable bands-it was nothing if not a festival set up to fail. Its connection to the irreproachable Woodstock assured that former hippies would mock its originality, its authenticity, and because of links with corporations, its sincerity.
I truly believe its only purpose was to give older radio personalities witty, "when-I-was-young" morning show material this summer. No, wait, besides the fuzzy Wonder Years moments, there was also a shitload of money to be made.
There are few things sacred to the almighty advertising dollar. Case in point: slapping corporate logos upon the 30-year-old memory of a festival dedicated to, if not anti-capitalism, definitely anti-establishment.
Woodstock stopped being about peace and love a long time ago. Now it is little more than a cash cow for pirates and water-hoarding corporate swine. Why should we have to protect their myth?
The rioters triumphed in their methods. In a world of easily-marketable counter culture the only real response, the only real rebellion, is pointless and extreme violence. Senseless rioting is one of the only things absolutely untouchable for advertising executives.
The commercials began cropping up a few months ago; women dancing at Woodstock, women skinny dipping at Woodstock, women using Tampax at Woodstock. Apparently now, aside from swimming and horse back riding while menstruating, now women can effect social change and have a groovy time doing it-isn't it about time?
The '60s were not about peace and love, even the producers of Forrest Gump had to agree; race riots, assassination, expanding theaters of war-the '60s had it all.
Altamont, the Rolling Stones' free concert, showcased a mean-spirited crowd, mean-spirited security and eventually a stabbing death. At the Isle of Wight Festival in England, promoters surrounded the concert with reinforced steel fence and guarded the walls of their fortress in force. The audience chanted "sell-out" and threw bottles (the old-fashioned glass kind) at such rabble rousers as Joni Mitchell.
Finally, let's get one thing straight: Woodstock was, in itself, a criminal action.
In '69 the flower children would have rampaged all over the ace Hardware booth had there been one present, and they wouldn't have needed the Red Hot Chili Peppers to incite them.
They were criminals and deviants and as they grew older and gained control of society's opinions, they exonerated themselves. They gave themselves a pardon, then sold us $4 bottles of water and made fun of our gullibility.
It is questionable whether the looters were motivated by a higher cause or whether they just wanted to tear shit up, but either way, I say, let's burn Woodstock to the ground. We'll make up a better story later.