Back To Which Garden?

The Squabbling Spawn of Woodstock

"It's not Woodstock's role to be preachy," says Scher. "It's our role to make available a forum, a proper context. But first and foremost, Woodstock is a rock festival." The idea, says Lang, is to promote the most modern artists and acts that are "great live." But it's also to sell tickets, at $150-plus a pop, to an 18-to-26-year-old audience. Hey— if hundreds of thousands of people crashed your party without paying, you'd want to make sure their sons and daughters paid you back, too. "And if it doesn't work this time," Lang threatens pleasantly, "it's never going to happen again."

But clearly, the spirit of Woodstock will carry on in other forms— even if this is Lang's last time. Without a permit from town hall, Howard and Abramson— the latter running for town supervisor— are casting their August event in Bethel as a political rally for the "Wanna Party"; they're expecting their biggest turnout ever, with über-hippies from the annual North American Rainbow Gathering in nearby Alleghany National Forest trickling in as well. The same weekend, Alan Gerry is hosting genuine '69 survivors David Crosby, Arlo Guthrie, and Melanie at Yasgur's Farm.

So if the spirit of Woodstock is not the type of music, not the town it's named for, and not the place it first happened, what is it? "A gathering of the tribes," says Scher; "the religion of the young," says Lang. "Peace, love, and music," say the Friends of Yasgur; "sex, drugs, and rock and roll," say its detractors. Duke Devlin, who hitchhiked all the way from a commune in Texas to attend Woodstock '69, agrees with all that. But he adds, "Or maybe it's just a good excuse for a bake sale."

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