Monthly Archives: August 2009

ESCAPE to Woodstock

3 Days of Peace and Music

3 Days of Peace and Music

As we approach the fourtieth anniversay of Woodstock 69 next Saturday, I have been thinking a lot about why exactly it is that I so desperately wish that I could have been there.

Woodstock 69 for me, epitomises the peaceful and free flowing vibe of the 60s and stands out perhaps more than anything else, as THE event in musical history. Its easy to be idealistic and take a romanticized view when reflecting upon times gone by, (particularly when the time in question was a good fifteen years before I was a shadow of a concept) but even so, there something intrinsicly alluring about a a festival whose philosophy was contained in these simple words-

THREE DAYS OF PEACE AND MUSIC

Whether intended or not, the cultural impact of Woodstock and its mission statement was of epic proportions. Woodstock had a profound impact not only on the direction of music, but also politically and socially. In uniting half a million people for the first time in a muddy field, Woodstock reinvented individual perception and group mentality took on a new level of meaning.  Joni Mitchell wasn’t a performer at the festival that year but articulated my point when she spoke of Woodstock and said; ” Woodstock was a spark of beauty, ” where 500,000 people, ” saw that they were part of a greater organism.”

Although over 100,00 entry tickets were sold for Woodstock 69 they became completely unnecessary. By Wednesday 13th August, two days before the festival was due to open over 60,000 people filled the site. Roads leading to the 600 acre farm in Bethel, New York became congested beyond recovery and the fences and gates to mark the festival peramiters were never completed.  Rather than declare it a catastrophic mess (as you can imagine happening today,) organisers embraced the enthusiasm of festival goers and pronounced it a free for all, further weaving and a free and liberal mentality into the fabric of the weekend.

And then there was the line up….

I have been lucky enough to have seen two bands from the original Woodstock line up in recent years; Sly and The Family Stone at Lovebox two summers ago, and Crosby Stills and Nash at Glastonbury this year. If these twenty-first century performances are anything to go by, Woodstock would have been one hell of a show. AND there was JIMI HENDRIX… The Who and Janis Joplin amongst other iconic figures.

Woodstock 69 exemplified for the first time, the true power of music. On the one hand for the musician, music was as always an expressive tool, a complex and passionate language coveyed through performance. However on this occasion, the sheer size of the audience and the resulting atmosphere enticed  mind shattering performances from the Woodstock musicians. On the other hand, for the participant in the Woodstock crowd, music became a life altering, magical experience, invoking strong emotion, political direction and social awareness. Woodstock broke down barriers and changed attitudes.  Joel Rosenman one of the festical organisers summed it up when he said;

“Over the decades, the history of that weekend has served as a beacon of hope that a beautiful spirit in each of us ultimately will triumph.”

To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock, The Idea Generation Gallery has combined forces with Genesis Publications to put on an exhibition of previously unseen photography from Woodstock. The exhibition is well thought out and includes performance and backstage shots as well as photographs taken from within the crowd and campsites to give a rounded presentation of the Woodstock experience.

To find out more about Woodstock ’69 visit the official website – www.woodstock.com/1969-festival

Woodstock Expereince closes at The Idea Generation, Chance Street, Shoreditch on August 30th so get there fast.

Idea Generation Website – www.ideageneration.co.uk

Genesis Publications – www.genesis-publications.com

OH HOW I WISH I COULD HAVE BEEN AT WOODSTOCK…….I LOVE YOU JIMI

-sw

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ESCAPE with The Beatless Collection (Vol.1)

Who needs beats when you can go Beatless?

The Beatless Collection is the ULTIMATE chill out album…and not in a boring Cafe del Mar kind of Way.

Featuring mellowed out mixes of songs by techno greats such as Gui Boratto, Trentemoller and Deadmau5, it’s as though this album has consciously been crafted to lull listeners into a twinkling, techno induced, afternoon beach snooze  – the kind that we all fantasize about at three o’clock on a Monday afternoon in London.

Probably best not to listen to this whilst at work… but anyone who is planning on doing any form of chilling out any time soon should have a go at doing it to this album.

Available to listen to on Spotify.

-SW

ESCAPE with a postcard

cecil

It recently occurred to me that I am no longer a collector of anything. Collecting something is a great idea because it keeps you alert, interested and means you ll always be on the look out for something new to add to your collection. Seeing as I am an escape artist with an interest in escape art (and am admittedly untidy with a tendency to clutter) I have decided that postcards are the thing for me. Traditionally postcards are tools with which traveling escape artists can show off to friends/ family back home, however it has only taken one week as an official postcard collector for me to realize that they are a true art form. These are some of my favourites…..

thighmaster

-SW