What a time to be alive...

What a time to be alive...
Authored By John Nicholson

I was too young to go to any of the festivals during their golden age, though I saw Zep at Knebworth. And the centre of gravity was in the USA anyway. But if I had, I’d certainly have been more into it as a lifestyle. More ‘this is the counterculture revolution’ than just going for the music. I was very prone to believe such talk when I was 18 and 19 before life made me cynical.
So I would have been the naked one in the river eating alfalfa sprouts and smoking herbs and then getting high listening to Johnny Winter and Mountain.
I’m fascinated by festivals of the late 60s and early 70s and have written about most that happened up to 1974 on the DJTees website. Seen collectively they really were a loose aggregation of people that formed an informal crowd. At one stage, I think it was at Watkins Glen Summer Jam featuring The Band, the Allmans and the Dead it was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States. In essence, that meant that on July 28, one out of every 350 people living in America at the time was there. Incredible. Considering that most of those who attended the event hailed from the Northeast, and that the average age of those present was approximately seventeen to twenty-four, close to one out of every three young people from Boston to New York was at the festival.
That is a movement so big it’s hard to quite compute it. No wonder oldies and others were scared by it and thought it was a threat, somehow. But out of that 600,00 there were no arrests. Isn’t that amazing? We have lost that unity, but it showed it was possible. I’d like to think most had common values of love and peace. That clip of Donald Sutherland organising an anti-Vietnam war thing with Jane Fonda was so inspiring and very much part of the counterculture. But I’m probably being hopelessly naive. It was probably just a day out for most.
The one I’d love to have gone to is the first Sky River Rock Festival in Washington state; the Lighter Than Air Fair. Look who played >
It seems to have been a small affair, very successful (there were two more) and very hippy. It must have felt liberating to be away from societal demands, just groovin’ with nature to some far out sounds.
In actual fact. I would probably have been annoyed by ‘tourists’ and people who weren’t serious about the revolution. Even so, what a time to be alive.

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