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The 1969 Woodstock concert might very well be the most legendary concert of all time. Not just only because who all performed but even more so the stuff and atmosphere surrounding the entire event. It was held at the height of the flower power craze and the entire event became much bigger and longer than eventually anticipated, resulting in some crazy events, as can be seen in this documentary.

Yes, it is a documentary but it doesn't really feel like one. This sounds like a bad thing but it really isn't. It isn't a documentary that gives you any insightful information about the planning and execution of the whole event, with lots of backstage footage but it more is one that simply shows all of the stuff, as it happened. This gives you more the sort of feeling of what it must had been like, on and around the farm fields, the concert was being held on. Nothing about this documentary feels planned, as if they were just simply shooting away as much material as possible, which later got put together in the editing room by none other than Martin Scorsese, among many others.

But the main emphasis is really put on its music and artist, with occasionally some footage of the festival attendees and the people living in the area, responding to all of the events. I liked it that it showed all of the events from many different perspectives and wasn't only just focusing on the beautiful and positive things that went on.

But really, when the music plays, there are absolutely no distractions from it. The camera is filming the artist from the front only and doesn't ever cuts or swirls away from them. I liked this approach, which is quite different from normal other concert movies that often tend to focus on the audience as well.

And there truly is some great music in this movie, played by some big name stars. I was actually surprised how I was able to recognize pretty much all of the artist that were on stage, even though all of them and their biggest hits were far before my time. It should tell you something about how legendary some of the persons that perform at Woodstock were. Janis Joplin, The Who, Santana, Joe Cocker and of course Jimi Hendrix, just to name a few, all make their appearances.

The documentary is also really a testament of its time. It shows the atmosphere and the whole state of minds and mentality of youngsters, around that time. Searching for love and peace, with the help of some music..and lots of illegal substances! I can imaging how this bothered some 'older' people and different people around that time but now days, it's actually quite fun to watch all. It putted many of the festival goers into a certain mood, which also made them do some crazy things. One of the craziest things I saw in this documentary was a naked man dancing with a real sheep in his arms, in the middle of a big crowed. Why? Because he could of course! No one that looked surprised or bothered by it, just because it fitted in with the whole ideology and mentality of certain youngsters around that time. Everybody was allowed to do what he wanted and whatever made him or her happy, as long as it didn't involved any aggression.

It's a really long and extensive portrayal of the Woodstock events. Depending on which version you are watching, the running time is close to 4 hours. And not only that, it often is using split-screens, so basically there is about 6 or 7 hours of footage to be seen in this documentary. It probably also helps to make it good and suitable for repeated viewings.

Simply a must-see for the movie lovers and for those who enjoy a good concert registration, or are curious to find out what all that buzz about that 'old' Woodstock concert event was all about.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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