The Ol' Rancher's Memory
Greetings Old Hippie,
You asked for a Woodstock story. Here's mine:
By August '69 I had finished college at University of Maryland and had a
job teaching 6th grade in Montgomery Co. Maryland (avoided draft). I had
been a 'hippie' for at least three years by that time and was wise in the way
of concerts and big psychedelic shows. I had seen Hendrix three times, Jefferson
Airplane, and other major groups. I saw a sign and read handouts about the
Woodstock Arts and Crafts Fair and when I read the list of acts, I knew this
was a big one.
My new wife and I drove a red Volkswagon the Thursday night and
parked six miles from the site. By the time we reached Max's farm the fencing
was recently down and we walked in. I had figured it would be free and
nearly out of control so I had no tickets anyway. Seventeen dollars was a lot
on money then for a ticket. Without reviewing days of activities let me
just list a few highlights and indicate how attending the concert changed
the course of my life.
Highlights: Most memorable acts ... Santana - Out of nowhere this
unknown Latin act with the screaming guitar, bank of conga drums
and other percussion knocked our lights out.
Hendrix - Worth the wait till Monday morning - the transition from Star Spangle
banner to Purple Haze swept the already stunned crowd into a refreshing
high essentially overcame the sleep deprivation and wet muddy surroundings.
His banks of Marshal amps (nearly 30) were cranked to the maximum. He let it
all go. It was so strong and loud that for the first time the
music echoed back from mountains to create a reverb. My wife who was by then
back at the car said that from there it sounded like someone next to her
had a stereo volume set to #9.
People: On the way back from the pond I met a kid about 17 years old
selling acid for $1 a hit but his jeans pockets were so stuffed with
money he had nowhere to put any more and his solution was to begin giving hits
Play of the Day: When the rains hit it was a muddy mess and all was wet.
But I had anticipated this. Ta Da ! I bought a large plastic baggie with
boxes of kitchen matches. When the sun came back out and the music
returned, guess who had the only means to light a joint for a circumference of
10,000 people? In the next couple of hours, I had tasted the best stash of
that many people. The winner was some real Panama Red from a New
Overview: For the most part, I sat about 200 ft.
slightly stage left of dead center. Was interested more in the focus of the
speaker systems seeing the performers. That was just past he first 100 feet we
called the acid and speed zone or perimeter, where those who
couldn't keep still were dancing.
remained there for most of three and a half days, leaving only to use a
bathroom ... Ha! For food and drink one just sat and waited. In a minute
or two a sandwich would come by being passed around and you took a
good bite and passed it on. Then
a cookie, then a drink or two. Soon you were no longer hungry and all was
well. In my area of the concert it as not a really tight pack of people but we
were just about up against each other sitting or lounging back a bit. Almost
no one knew beforehand who was sitting next to them or anywhere nearby. We
were all separated from whoever we arrived with, so we struck up a network of
instant friendships. Every hour or so I would stand and stretch ... Wow ...
the view. In all directions a sea of people ...
Epilogue : When I finally stumbled back to car
Monday afternoon. I was too high to return home or to city life. I
was still high from all the acid I ate to stay awake for
Hendrix. So we drove north instead of south just because the was as far from
home as we had been. We didn't stop until the drugs wore off just
outside of Montreal, Canada on a small isolated mountain top overlooking
Now we knew that travel and adventure was for us. After the end of the coming
school year, we quit and went on the hippie trail backpacking across 35
countries for two and a half years. I then knew that living in suburban
Washington D.C. was not for me. We moved to Austin, Texas just in
time to begin a cosmic cowboy 'scene' there. Unknowns like an old guy
named Willie Nelson and a guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughn played
mostly for free everywhere they could in town.
And now ... Austin (I stayed) has become what I left in suburban D.C. So I bought
a small ranch near a Texas hill country town named Blanco where '
old Texas' lifestyle still survives. It is near a town named Lukenbach that is
known for the song of that name sung by "Willie, Waylon, and the boys
.." I am now a retired (teacher) and call myself the Ol'
Rancher .. To see my piece of heaven on earth
enter : bruce5320 where it says member name