23.6 C
Niagara Falls
Friday, June 14, 2024
Ross’s Ramblings: Local Legion presents a mini Woodstock music festival
Aging local peacenick Harry Edgecombe and a group of local folks enjoy a Woodstock type day on the lawn of the Legion on a perfect spring day. ROSS ROBINSON

Some five years ago, I explained in The Lake Report why I missed Woodstock back in August of 1969.

I had been working for the summer on Cape Cod, and mistakenly thought the big celebration of music, peace and love was way back in Woodstock, Ont., a long 10 hour drive, each way.

In fact, it was only four hours away in Woodstock, N.Y.

Max Yasgur’s farm near the small town of Bethel was taken over by a large mob worried about the war in Vietnam, civil rights and the culture of recreational drugs.

Yes indeed, peace, love and rock and roll.

It became apparent that the crowd was overwhelming the organizers, and the fences and ticket booths couldn’t be installed.

The new free entry fee drew some 400,000 young people — organizers were expecting about 25,000 people.

Rain, mud, a lack of food for sale, and a total lack of sanitary facilities all made for a memorable, disgusting, delightful and unforgettable experience.

Jimi Hendrix was the highest paid performer, at $18,000. Joan Baez was paid $10,000, and Blood, Sweat & Tears got $15,000.

How times have changed, with Taylor Swift getting much more than that nowadays. Much more, eh?

Two weeks ago here in our peaceful town, an old high school pal and I decided to meet at the Legion for a cold adult beverage or two on a warm and sunny day.

We  thought there might be a half dozen people having a cold one in the bar, perhaps with a pickled egg.

Imagine our delight when we joined about two hundred music lovers on the lawn facing King Street. Rather than mud, thanks to Rick Leitch, the lawns and flower beds were pristine.

A tent had been set up over a small stage, and Mia and Benjamin Hackett of Azalea were entertaining the crowd.

Don Grose and John Clause also took to the stage on a perfect day at the Legion in our town.

How we have progressed. Fifty five years ago, no toilets: now, clean men’s and ladies’ washrooms in the Legion.

Then, no food or drinks available: now, Shannon and Sandra were behind the bar serving ice cold beer and pickled eggs.

Back at Woodstock in 1969, only cold and sloppy food being shared: in 2024, Henry and the BBQ meisters had the catering under control and there were a lot of happy people on the lawn. Many stayed for several hours.

Fifty five years ago, discussion topics were Vietnam, civil rights and drugs. Earlier this month here in our town, we talked about the St. David’s roundabout, SORE and the Rand Estate development and the awkward situation at our town library.

It is understood that many babies were conceived on the farm near Woodstock in 1969. This is probably not the case after our impromptu “Woodstock” at the NOTL Legion in 2024

A month before Woodstock, on July 20 at 8:17 p.m., Americans had landed on the moon.

I have a vivid memory of being at a bar called Your Father’s Moustache on Cape Cod, listening to a muscular and beaded singer named John Brown singing “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”

He was playing his guitar, leading a sing-along, sitting comfortably astride a non working toilet on the stage.

From the moon’s surface, Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Times were so much simpler then.

Now, really rich people can pay really a lot of money to  experience private space travel.

Someday, we will be able to buy a Mars Bar at a bar on Mars. Will an “Earth Bar” wrapping be litter on a sidewalk?

Then, daily tragedies in Vietnam. Now, daily horrible heartbreaks in Gaza, Ukraine and many other parts of the world.

Will mankind ever devise a way to live together in peace and harmony?

Maybe the young flower children at Woodstock were on the right path.

Peace, love and rock and roll.

It felt good at the NOTL Legion a couple of weeks ago.

Subscribe to our mailing list