Hey ex-Hippies: It’s time to set your soul free again (“We are stardust, we are golden”). This year marks yet another benchmark for aging hipsters: the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. Though I was unable to attend the event ( I did, however, attend a few other benchmark musical events, including the first L.A. concerts of Pink Floyd, the Newport Rock Festival in Costa Mesa in August 1968, and the Last Days of Fillmore West in July 1971), I, like so many of my peers, just marveled at the news of the wonderful event. And the 1970 movie “Woodstock,” by Michael Wadleigh, summed up all the best aspects of the rock generation — to that point in time.
But the last year of the decade already was sounding the death knell for the 60s “revolution” (which we thought would go on forever): The virtual dismantling of SDS by the Weather Underground faction in late 1969, the debacle of the Altamont Free Concert in December, and even the breakup of The Beatles (late 1969 to early 1970) … with the decade being “finished off” by the Kent State Shootings on May 4, 1970. The idea of the 60s struggled on through the 1970s, seeing the end of the Vietnam War, a punk rock movement to offset the corporatization of rock ‘n’ roll, and a blossoming of grass roots art and theatre. The dream officially ended with the rise of Ronald Reaganism in 1980.
But hey, the 1960s did shine brightly for awhile, and Woodstock was one of it’s great beacons.
So today we celebrate Woodstock with the release of “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” a director’s cut of that seminal film. Herewith is the press release from Warner Home Video:
Woodstock: The Director’s Cut:
Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music — the four-hour director’s cut of the 1970 Oscar-winning documentary about the landmark music event that featured some of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll performers in history — will be released June 9 in a spectacular new limited, numbered Blu-ray and DVD Ultimate Collector’s Edition. With two extra hours of rare performance footage — some of it newly-discovered, some only seen in part and some never seen at all — the set is destined to make its own history.
Today, four decades later, Woodstock still resonates deeply with those who attended and those who wished they had. Director Michael Wadleigh notes, “Based on the vast e-mails and calls I’ve received, many from young people, it’s very evident that people still relate so much to the film and view the ‘60s as an age when anything and everything was possible, mostly good. Many hope for a new Woodstock generation since what people loved back then was spontaneity, originality, innocence and honesty — even in superstars; that’s why Woodstock, with its open and natural philosophy, has become timeless.”
The two extra hours of rare performance footage features 18 new performances as never before seen from 13 groups, including Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker and five (Paul Butterfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Johnny Winter and Mountain) who played at Woodstock but never appeared in any film version.
A third hour of bonus material also in the set includes a featurette gallery (“Woodstock: From festival to Feature“) showcasing interviews with Martin Scorsese, producer Michael Lang, director Michael Wadleigh, Hugh Hefner, Eddie Kramer (the concert’s original chief on-site engineer and producer-engineer for Jimi Hendrix) and others who chronicle the making of the festival and the film. Included are such segments as “3 Days in a Truck,” “No Rain! No Rain!” and “Living Up to Idealism.”
The discs will be packaged in a unique giftbox, numbered as part of a limited run with an array of collectibles that include a 60+ page reprint of a Life magazine commemorative issue, a lucite lenticular display of vintage festival photos, festival memorabilia and an iron-on patch with the classic dove and guitar Woodstock emblem.
VH1 Rock Docs and History have joined forces in a unique television collaboration to co-produce the definitive two-hour documentary, “Woodstock: 40 Years Later” (working title), which will premiere this August on VH1, History and VH1 Classic. Directed by two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple and executive produced by Michael Lang, the original festival organizer, the film examines Woodstock from the perspectives of not only the musicians who graced the stage, but the fans, concert promoters and countless others. The film will also take an important look at Woodstock’s legacy through the eyes of today’s musicians and activists examining why Woodstock and all it symbolizes is still relevant in today’s culture.
Woodstock Ultimate Collectors Edition: Band Roster
Country Joe & the Fish
Country Joe McDonald
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Crosby, Stills, Nash
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Sly & The Family Stone
Ten Years After
Full Description of 18 Bonus Performances
- Joan Baez “One Day at a Time”
- Country Joe McDonald “Flying High”
- Santana “Evil Ways”
- Canned Heat “I’m Her Man” and “On the Road Again”
- Mountain “Beside the Sea” and “Southbound Train”
- Grateful Dead “Turn On Your Love Light”
- Creedence Clearwater Revival “Born on the Bayou”, “I’ve Put a Spell on You” and “Keep on Chooglin’”
- The Who “We’re Not Going To Take It” and “My Generation”
- Jefferson Airplane “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds”
- Joe Cocker “Something’s Coming On”
- Johnny Winter “Mean Town Blues”
- Paul Butterfield “Morning Sunrise”
- Sha Na Na “Teen Angel”
Full Description of “Woodstock: From Festival to Feature”
- The Camera: The Éclair NPR was the best camera around in 1969; Michael Wadleigh talks about why the Éclair was the right camera for this film.
- 365,000 Feet of Film: The stories of how Dale Bell and his crew begged, borrowed and stole just enough film to document the festival.
- Shooting Stage: Those up-close shots of performers didn’t just happen by magic; see how Wadleigh and his cameramen got those up close and personal shots of the performers.
- The Line Up: The Who, Sha Na Na, Santana, Ten Years After, Jefferson Airplane and many more; how did all these bands get on the roster for the festival of a life time?
- Holding the Negative Hostage: What does a filmmaker do when Technicolor is sending a copy of your negative to the studio without your permission? Well, you lock up the film and hire a lawyer.
- Announcements: “Don’t take the brown acid” or maybe it was green. We’ll hear about all the strange and informative announcements heard during those three days of peace, love and enlightenment.
- Suits VS. Longhairs: The clash between the hippie filmmakers and the Warner executives who didn’t understand what this film meant.
- Documenting History: Find out from Michael Wadleigh and Dale Bell, along with filmmakers, where the idea of capturing this event on film came from.
- Woodstock: The Journey: Some came by car, others by truck, a few came by helicopter but most walked to the most famous festival in history.
- Pre-Production: We’ll find out how this production got off the ground and meet the members of the crew that made it happen.
- Production: How many cameras were used? How much film did they go through? Did anyone sleep? All these questions and more will be answered here as we explore how Woodstock was captured on film.
- Synchronization: How do you sync all this material with out any slates? No slate, no problem. With the help of an upright Moviola, Dale Bell, Michael Wadleigh, Eddie Kramer and the editors were able to make magic from miles of tape and film.
- The Crowd: Half a million people of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages and sexes attended this historical event. We’ll hear stories about the number of people and how they all coexisted for three days with only minor incidents.
- No Rain! No Rain!: Everyone talks about the rain at this event as if it were a character. It was. It set the tone, provided moments of danger, fun and disgust.
- 3 Days in a Truck: Eddie Kramer heard some of the most amazing performances as he recorded this historic event. But during those three days of peace, love and music, he didn’t get to see any performances because he was stuck in a truck.
- Woodstock Effect: The film, the event and the album catapulted many musicians into the limelight, changing their lives forever.
- Living up to Idealism
- World’s Longest Optical
- Critical Acclaim
- Courtesy of The Museum at Bethel Woods: The Hog Farm Commune
- Hugh Hefner and Michael Wadleigh: The Woodstock Connection
For more Woodstock info: