Peace, Love & Rock ‘n’ Roll


For the past 54 years, not an August has gone by without my thoughts drifting to the Woodstock Music Festival, and the hippie movement in general. I wanted to go to Woodstock on that August weekend in 1969 and to this day, I am still bristling that I couldn’t.

Woodstock, as most everyone knows, was a three-day weekend of “peace, love and rock and roll” held on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, NY. Nearly 500,000 people made their way to upstate New York to enjoy the music performed by an amazing lineup of legendary musicians. They included Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills & Nash, Grateful Dead, Richie Havens, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Jefferson Airplane, Santana and many others.

After the event, Max Yasgur himself thanked the sea of hippie visitors for the peaceful gathering of those who just wanted to have fun and hear good music. In August 2019, the U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp on the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.

In case anyone needs reminding, the hippies represented a counter-cultural movement that protested hate and war (Viet Nam specifically), commercialism, and the establishment of societal norms. Many looked down on hippies for their drug use, which consisted mainly of marijuana and psychedelics like LSD. While I don’t condone the use of these drugs, marijuana is now legal in most states (not federally), with the many medical benefits realized by the experts.

Consider what we have today as it relates to drug use – opioid use is an epidemic in this country. At the same time, we are barraged daily with nonstop TV commercials for prescription drugs. My former mother-in-law used to say the biggest drug pusher is sitting right in our living rooms – the television.

There are only two countries in the world that allow direct-to-consumer TV ads for prescription drugs: the United States and New Zealand. The only break we get from these commercials is during an election year when politicians take over our airwaves. It’s interesting to note that for the 2020 election, two-thirds of the U.S. Congress cashed campaign checks from big pharmaceutical companies. I do believe this is the sort of “establishment” hippies were talking about and could not tolerate.

Hippies were also looked down upon for their alleged lack of morality, specifically “free love” activities. There’s no denying that some passed around a few bad bugs amongst themselves, but they did not start the STD or AIDS epidemics, which came much later.

While the hippie movement carried its own set of issues, they were, in my opinion, nowhere near all the terrible things happening today worldwide. I don’t think anyone would disagree that we could all use a little more peace and love.  


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