Woodstock gave America, after the violent sixties with the assassinations, riots, cities on fire and all the anguish, a dramatically different way to be together. So many thousands the NY Throughway had to close. Scarce food, people sleeping crammed together on the ground often in the rain.
We went to hear music. We found hope. We looked after one another.
Within misery, bliss erupted. As far as the eye could see, a landscape of happiness even while wrapped in mud.
Up on the hills away from the stage, with the lake a playground, plentiful drugs and nudity. Around the lake people gathered to share drugs, turned themselves into a skinscape enhanced with, oh my! Ultra interesting folks among the bountiful participants.
Having declined assignments, assuming I would only be there for one day, I was free to explore the population, though occasionally visited the stage to borrow film from photographer friends.
Very early one morning, stepping over sleeping people, I saw in the distance one couple standing, holding each other. Seeing the hills, a flag, all poetically wrapped in dawn, I walked carefully to within 15 feet, and all the while my eye moving me left or right to arrange their placement with the other ingredients of this tender moment. Took the picture that became the cover of the Woodstock album with borrowed color film.
A music festival with so many great musicians gave way to quietude born of release, however temporary, from a violent decade while pointing the spirit of Woodstock toward trying to grow a new America.