Woodstock generation looks back, from varied vantage points

In this August 1969 file photo, rock music fans listen to performers at the Woodstock Festival of Arts and Music in Bethel, N.Y. To some Americans, the pivotal festival of "peace and music" 50 years ago was an inspiring moment of countercultural community and youthful freethinking. To others, it was an outrageous display of indulgence, moral decay and insouciance in a time of war. To still others, it was just a world apart from theirs. (AP File Photo)
In this Thursday August 8, 2019 photo, Karen Breda poses for a photograph in a garden in West Hartford, Conn. Breda attended Woodstock to see a music concert that included the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the lineup. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
This August 1969 file photo shows a portion of the 400,000 concert goers who attended the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival held on a 600-acre pasture near Bethel, N.Y. To some Americans, the pivotal festival of "peace and music" 50 years ago was an inspiring moment of countercultural community and youthful freethinking. To others, it was an outrageous display of indulgence, moral decay and insouciance in a time of war. To still others, it was just a world apart from theirs. (AP File Photo)
In this Aug. 16, 1969 file photo, a young woman naps on top of her car while trying to reach the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in Bethel, N.Y. Organizers had sold 186,000 tickets; ultimately an estimated 400,000 people showed up for the festival on a 600-acre parcel of farmland. (AP File Photo)
In this Aug. 15, 1969 file photo rock music fans sit on a tree sculpture as one leaps mid-air onto a pile of hay during the Woodstock Music and Art Festival held in Bethel, N.Y. To some Americans, the pivotal festival of "peace and music" 50 years ago was an inspiring moment of countercultural community and youthful freethinking. To others, it was an outrageous display of indulgence, moral decay and insouciance in a time of war. To still others, it was just a world apart from theirs. (AP File Photo, File)
In this Aug. 17, 1969 file photo, workers carry medical supplies that arrived by helicopter on the grounds of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in Bethel, N.Y. Helicopters were pressed into service when some 300,000 person attending the festival blocked all roads. Despite scores of drug arrests, thousands of medical problems and two deaths, one from a heroin overdose and another when a teen was run over, there were no reports of violence. (AP File Photo)
In this Thursday August 8, 2019 photo, Karen Breda poses for a photograph in a garden in West Hartford, Conn. Breda attended Woodstock to see a music concert that included the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the lineup. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

NEW YORK — It was the weekend that shaped the image of a "Woodstock Generation." And that image would echo, appeal and provoke for generations to come.

To many who went or wished they did, the pivotal festival of "peace and music" 50 years ago remains an inspiring moment of counterculture community and youthful freethinking.

Some other Americans saw Woodstock as an outrageous display of indulgence and insouciance in a time of war. And some didn't look to Woodstock to celebrate their own sense of music and identity.

University of Kansas American history professor David Farber notes "there was no one baby boomer generation," and no one approach to what Woodstock meant.

But he says it became an "aspirational vision of what countercultural youth thought they could achieve" in the U.S.

___

Associated Press writer Michael Hill contributed from Albany, New York.

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