The Woodstock Effect.

Back in the Hippie Ages of 1969, there was a concert in Woodstock, NY touted as “Three days of Peace, and Music”  and as it was the times, an anti Vietnam War gathering but without the stupid fanaticism.

About a decade later, maybe more, I dusted the album (A triple vinyl) one day to listen to it again and as i was reading the cover, I noticed that some of the artists were still relevant even after they were dead like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, some bands disappear as they reach the end of their creative life and the artists continued on their own. But what called my attention were the artists that were still alive and working, but nobody cared for them anymore like Joan Baez. Most of those artist had something in common: They got political and Anti-War in a heavy way. People simply had stopped paying attention, specially since the war was over, the sentiment changed from being against the soldiers to embarrassment for crapping on them plus everybody was tired and did not want to hear about Vietnam anymore.

It is my contention that those Anti War musicians were perennially associated with their political activity and, the moment the politics changed, they became irrelevant in the eyes of the music lovers. I call it the Woodstock Effect: If you are an artist and dabble in politics, you will eventually lose.”

When my partner and I had the studio, one of our policies was zero political work, including government work. We never did work for any political party and trust me, they came with literally briefcases full of cash so we would give in. But we knew that if we happened to do work for the asshole that lost, the asshole that won would have taken it personally and send government people to screw with us. Once the word spread out that we didn’t do political stuff for anybody, they stopped coming and no winner ever messed with us. We understood that all politics are cyclical and some people have long memories. It simply was not worth the risk in the long run.

So I could not help and smile when J. Kb. wrote:

“This is why you don’t bow to obnoxious activists. When the news cycle shifts to the next big topic, all you’ve really done is fucked yourself.”

Shit has not changed, it just got much faster and has a wider reach.

It is good that a new generation reached the same conclusions.  I can now retire to Florida…. Oh wait…. shit.



4 Replies to “The Woodstock Effect.”

  1. My absolute favorite quote about Woodstock is from the actor John Ratzenberger:

    “This isn’t the Democratic party of our fathers and grandfathers. This is the party of Woodstock hippies. I was at Woodstock–I built the stage. And when everything fell apart, and people were fighting for peanut butter sandwiches, it was the National Guard who came in and saved the same people who were protesting them. So when Hillary Clinton a few years ago wanted to build a Woodstock memorial, I said it should be a statue of a National Guardsman feeding a crying hippie.”


  2. I take in political work, but I take it from everybody. What I won’t do is display any of it in my shop or on my property. Yes I do political yard signs but no you can’t put one out front of my store. Even if I agree with you. Is your money green and what you want me to print legal? Then I will do it. I have done stuff for both parties out here, printed choice and life flyers and so on. Not gonna be stupid like Fedex and advertise that I took sides.


  3. Pete Townsend, when asked about Woodstock, said “I hated it”.
    I suspect that his interactions with the counterculture led to the writing “Won’t Be Fooled Again”.



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