Woodstock Nation: What Created Famous Mud-Filled Festival

The stressed-out adults of today still brag about Woodstock.

ByABC News
August 7, 2009, 11:02 AM

Aug. 14, 2009 — -- Generation X and Y may think Woodstock was just about the sex, drugs and rock and roll, but to our parents' generation, it was far more.

For them, Woodstock was a chance to let their freak flags fly, their hair grow long, and perhaps most important of all, define themselves as a generation that didn't want anything to do with the values of their uptight, middle-class elders.

Today, this self-described Woodstock nation has morphed into the very beings they rebelled against during that August weekend in 1969: Straight-shooting, buttoned-down, stressed-out parents.

But on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, it doesn't seem to matter what they've become in the four decades since they stormed upstate New York for a three-day music festival that stunned the nation.

After all, they're the ones, and not us, who wear the badge of honor that comes with being a part of the most spontaneous and successful outdoor festival in American history.

"People were delightfully shocked if they were related to Woodstock, and absolutely horrified by it if they were anti-hippie," said Pete Fornatale, the author of "Back to the Garden: The Story of Woodstock," and a long-time disc jockey who began his career in the music business three weeks before Woodstock.

"These kids who went to Woodstock in 1969 didn't know how different they were from everyone else and how like-minded they were with each other until that weekend," Fornatale told ABCNews.com. "They came for the music, but found something much larger than the music in those three days."

"And that was their own power in their own numbers, and they turned it into a celebration -- a celebration with minimum violence, even in the harshest of conditions," said Fornatale.

The idea for Woodstock was born six months prior to the festival by friends Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld, who had dreams of building a recording studio in upstate New York to cater to musicians who were growing tired of city life in Manhattan.