Woodstock 1991

September 11, 1991 1 min read
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Aging flower children and hippie-wannabees got another chance to don their love beads and bell bottoms at a recent concert to benefit children’s arts funding in Northampton, Mass.

After the state cut funding for school and community arts programs, the city arts council and local elementary parent-teacher organizations jointly planned this latter-day “summer of love” celebration to raise funds and bring people together to celebrate the arts.

An estimated 2,000 fans showed up not at--Max Yasgurs farm, but at a local park--to hear 15 bands put their own spin on such songs as “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” and “Purple Haze.” The swirling sitar music of the Indian classical musician Ravi Shznkar was reinterpreted by a Cambodian folk band, while a teenage rap group put its own stamp on the early funk of Sly and the Family Stone.

The Young at Heart Chorus, a group of senior citizens, graced the audience with a humorous rendition of Country Joe and the Fish’s obscene “fish cheer.” Their more-tactful version of the cheer spelled out “forget.”

This re-creation of the classic weekend concert raised more than $10,000, which will be divided between the schools and the local arts council. Its organizers hope that state funding will be restored next year.

While more public events are anticipated, the concert’s planners feel that the 60’s theme may have may have run its course.

“We don’t want to do Altamont,” Bob Cilman, director of the Northampton Arts Council, said, referring to the violence-struck California concert of 1969. “Who would we get to play the Hell’s Angels?” --S. K.G.

A version of this article appeared in the September 11, 1991 edition of Education Week as Woodstock 1991


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