Friday, August 14, 2009

50 maybe, but not 40

After all these years in the newspaper business, nearly the first half of them as a reporter and editor, I'd like to think I have a pretty good idea of what's news and what isn't. So why am I surprised by the inordinate amount of national and regional print and broadcasting coverage to the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Festival?

In my mind, landmark anniveraries go roughly like this: first, fifth, 10th, 25th, 50th and, for future generations, 100th.

Forty seems rather manufactured to me. Yet there you have it: special sections, documentaries, books and a feature film based on the original festival, all filling the air, burning newsprint and cleaning out book publishers' warehouses.

I live in Woodstock, the one where the festival wasn't, but the one where people to this day wander into the center of town looking for the festival site.

Yes, some of the shops have tried to capitalize on the tourist trade over the years with T-shirts and the like. WDST radio has some programming and giveaways planned the next couple of days. And, yes, there is a concert Saturday at the Bearsville Theater, as well as a weekend-long guitar festival in town. Neither will feature any of the original Woodstock Festival performers.

Generally speaking, however, I don't hear much talk about the 40th anniversary in Woodstock itself.

I thought The New York Times captured the spirit of the town in this piece the other day.

Freeman editors carried a couple of Woodstock Festival stories last weekend. Seemed about right to me for a quasi-milestone. I imagine the weekend crew will pick up a wire story or two over the next two days.

Beats me. I guess 40 has become the new 50.
comments powered by Disqus

<< Home