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Print Resources

Bell, Dale. Woodstock: An Inside Look at the Movie That Shook Up the World and Defined a Generation. Studio City: M. Wiese Productions, 1999.
A collection of sixty-nine relatively short pieces by a wide variety of people associated with making the film. Largely first-person memories, mostly informal, some interviews.
Cagin, Seth, and Phillip Dray. Sex, Drugs, Violence: Hollywood Films of the Seventies. Harper and Row: New York, 1984.
Talks of the movie as permanently placing Woodstock at an immediate time and place, and whether this is good or bad. Compares it to the Monterey Pop film, and how both films go about reliving the experience of the events that they put forth for the audience. Attempts to make a clean break between the "authenticity and the exploitativeness" (108) of the film itself, and what the true gain of the film turned out to be. Specifically deals with the overwhelming crowd present at the festival, and the way the movie portrays them.
Drowne, Tatiana Balkoff. "Film Reviews: Woodstock." Films in Review May 1970: 304-5.
A review of the film that puts the movie in a good light though seems to look down upon the actual Woodstock. It goes on to explain some of the more interesting details within the movie. Comments on the states of the young audience members, and how they don't seem to be affected by anything except for their drugs and their own hypnotic dances. This lends commentary to the theory of the apathy of the audience brought up by another reviewer. Comments on the overall mindset of the audience, and how they reacted throughout the event.
Kitts, Thomas M. "Documenting, Creating, and Interpreting Moments of Definition: Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and Gimme Shelter." Journal of Popular Culture 42.4 (2009): 715-32.
Kitts examines the effect Woodstock had on shaping a counterculture generation and investigates how Wadleigh used the footage of the festival to "document, create, interpret, and preserve" the history and culture that came out of Woodstock. He calls attention to the often glossed-over truth that Woodstock was originally intended to be a profit generator, and many of the artists played more for publicity than for the music itself. Wadleigh shows Woodstock as an event always in danger of exploding as a result of lack of food, bathroom facilities, overcrowding, and extremely unsanitary conditions. Kitt directs our eye to the final scenes of the documentary, which show a once pristine field, now covered in mud and refuse, with straggler festival attendees, most wearing some type of cast, picking though the garbage and scavenging for shoes. Kitts shows how Wadleigh contrasts these shocking wasteland scenes with images of the vast crowds and musical performances, along with the behaviors of the audience. This is how, despite some disturbing scenes of destruction, Wadleigh paints a picture of Woodstock as the festival of peace and love that it was. Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish summed this all up, saying "when people? tell me Woodstock? was great, I know they saw the movie and they weren't at the gig."
Pine, David. "Woodstock and Monterey Pop." Sight and Sound Summer 1970: 159-60.
This is a mixed review by a British magazine of the two major music festivals taking place in the United States. Pine seems very impressed by the filmmaking but comments on how the effects are often overused, due to the lack of wide-angle footage captured at the event. Discusses how the movie really envelops the audience in the experience. Discusses the differences between what is said within the film and what is seen in the footage, specifically citing claims of "heaven" though footage clearly showed many people suffering and upset. Goes onto compare Woodstock to Monterey Pop and how each is treated within the respective films, and what each film conveys to their audiences.
Ponech, Trevor. What is Non Fiction Cinema? On the Very Idea of Motion Picture Communication. Boulder: Westview P, 1999.
This book deals with the many different ways in which non-fiction cinema deals with the subjects of its films. The book questions exactly why some films are considered non-fiction and what makes them such. It also examines the many ways in which these non-fictional accounts tend to distort and manipulate the material in order to make for a more interesting story line or to coincide with the personal agendas of the creators. A superb book to reference when attempting to discover the ways in which film deals with non-fiction and the ways in which the films' developers use non-fiction to attempt to connect with a specific group of people.
Schowalter, Daniel F. "Remembering the Dangers of Rock and Roll: Toward a Historical Narrative of the Rock Festival." Critical Studies in Media Communication 17.1 (2000): 86-102.
Schowalter examines the reason for critiques of rock music and its "hazardous" effects on audiences. He evaluates several films, one being Woodstock, by scrutinizing the "rhetorical construction" of rock music and how the performances and their audiences are portrayed in each. Throughout Woodstock, although more than half of the film consists of musical performances, Wadleigh downplays the actual music itself. Schowalter claims that the film "obscures its own music and is preoccupied instead with the delirious 'effects' of the music on the fans and with the enchanting aura of the festival" (90). Music is played throughout the film, yet the camera attempts to attract the audience more to the attitudes of the half a million people present at the festival, along with their copious drug use and the message of peace and love that they are trying to send. There is also lack of support for another seemingly important declaration of the counterculture audience: opposition to the Vietnam War. A number of the songs intended to send out a political message to the country were trivialized and lost their intended effect when played at Woodstock. For example, during one song, Country Joe and the Fish's "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag," the true meaning of the lyrics is lost because of the audience's preference to sing along and spell out expletives. Despite the fact that many believe the audience of Woodstock was there for the music and to protest the Vietnam War, there was much more of a focus on being caught up in the "rapture and ecstasy of the music" through drug use and a disregard of any political beliefs that were previously thought to be quite present.

See Also

Dalton, Stephen. "'We wanted to change the world'; Forty years ago the world's most famous rock festival happened almost by accident. Stephen Dalton talks to veterans of the love-in that was Woodstock." The Times (London) 19 June 2009.

Mersch, Arnold. "Whitman and the Age of Aquarius: A Message for the 'Woodstock Generation'." Walt Whitman Review 19 (1973): 138-46.

Reitinger, Douglas W. "Paint It Black: Rock Music and Vietnam War Film." Journal of American Culture 15.3 (1992): 53-59.

Rollins, Peter C. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.

Ryan, Maureen. "Woodstock Nation: The Vietnam Antiwar Movement in Postwar American Fiction." War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities 14:1-2 (2002): 260-79.

Video/Audio Resources

Gimme Shelter. Albert and David Maysles, dirs. Perf. The Rolling Stones. Videocassette. 20th Century Fox, 1970.
This is a documentary concerning the Rolling Stones' tour of 1969. In many ways this could be considered the antithesis of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, especially when considering the Altamont concert where the Stones' hired the Hell's Angels to act as security for the event. During the several-hour-long concert the "security" deemed it necessary to begin roughing up the overwhelmingly hippie crowd. Several deaths and dozens of injuries resulted in what has been seen as a black eye for the British Rock and Roll stars, as well as America in general. A great film for use in comparison to Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music, because it shows what can happen when peace isn't the primary concern at an event.
Monterey Pop. D.A. Pennebaker, dir. Perf. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, The Mamas and the Papas. Videocassette. Leacock-Pennebaker, 1969.
This is the documentary of the prelude to The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, The Monterey Pop Festival. Unlike the Woodstock documentary, this film primarily deals with the performances of the artists, instead of incorporating the personal views and thoughts of the artists and audience members alike. This is an excellent video to compare with Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music in order to see how a festival with almost as many large-name performers can sell to not even ten percent of the size of Woodstock due to the underground nature of the festival and the locale in which it took place. Overall a fantastic piece for anyone who wants to get a feel for how other festivals and concerts took place around the time of Woodstock.

Online Resources

1969 Woodstock Festival
This is an official page founded by audience members of the original Woodstock festival. It's a great place to begin a web search on the topic of Woodstock. Contained within the page are several sub-pages dealing with topics such as the music of the festival, possible reunions of the audience members, and sound bites of the actual performances. There are also areas in which people have written their own interpretation and accounts of the festival, as well as an online shop for Woodstock related material.
The Woodstock '69 Page [Archived]
This page contains many pictures and articles about the original Woodstock Music and Art Fair of 1969. There are links to sub-pages showing an actual set-list and artist-list of the event, as well as pages concerning the music of the festival and a links page. Informative page, though lacking the depth of some "official" sites.
The Woodstock Nation On-Line [Archived]
This is the official site of the Woodstock Nation, a group of people reliving Woodstock and keeping the history and mythology of the famed festival alive. Offers links to several essays on topics concerning both the festival itself, and the treatment of the original site in the future. This site is useful as an insider look into the continued support for both the original location of Woodstock, as well as the mindset of the founders of The Woodstock Nation.