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CNN Special Reports
The Woodstock 50. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 17, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following is the CNN's Special Report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost exactly 50 years ago, a former army paratrooper from Seattle walked on to a plywood stage in this field and played an old song in a new way. America would never be the same.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could see it in the Oscar winning documentary, by the time Jimi Hendrix ended Woodstock, it was Monday morning, and only a few thousand dazed and dirty souls remained on what looked like a civil war battlefield. But it was just the opposite.
This was a peace field, and 50 years later, it is hippy hallowed ground. Because right here in the middle of a cold civil war, nearly half a million people came together for three days, peace, love and music, sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on to your neighbor, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should have been a humanitarian disaster, but that weekend held enough human connection to shape generations. 50 years later, there is still so much protest song inspiration, so much hunger for harmony. But festivals are an industry now, and with so many messages on so many stages, could a Woodstock ever happen again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you in charge of the whole thing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what are your odds of actually pulling this off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know we don't give up easily.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, this, this is a quest to find out. It's a journey across America and music and generations to ask those who were there what really happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your state of mind walking on to that stage?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were stoned out of our gourds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To ask how much have our values changed since '69?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know you want to piss your parents off, run around naked in the mud and start. (BLEEP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does this strange trip end?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think this crowd can change the world?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BILL WEIR, CNN HOST: I'm Bill Weir and this is Woodstock at 50.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I came upon a child of God; he was walking along the road I asked him where are you going and this he told me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were around half a million stories at Woodstock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll tell you my Woodstock story, let's start with three. Pretty girl, long legs, short dress, tan, blond, nice girl.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First up, David Crosby. He's in the rock 'n' roll hall of fame twice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to get back to the land and sit my soul free
DAVID CROSBY, MUSICIAN SINGER SONGWRITER: Walking in the mud barefoot, she cuts her foot badly, a piece of glass in the mud. She's standing there on one leg like a stork holding her other foot and bleeding quite a bit, people around here are going, oh, my God, what do we do?
Came right over here is a New York state throughway trooper. And he looks like a photograph out of a book. He just came on duty. His pants have got a sharp crease in them. His shoes are mirror clean, shiny.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to remember the backdrop here. After the Horrors of 1968, Vietnam is roiling, racial tensions are boiling and hippies and cops are on opposite sides, but for some reason, not here.
CRSOBY: He immediately walks into the mud, picks the girl up, gets the blood and the mud all over him, carries the girl gently to his car in his arms bleeding all over him, lays her in the backseat of the car gently and then 14 hippies pushed that over that police cruiser out of the mud.
CROSBY: And you know, that worked for me. Half a million kids, right, and not one umbrella. And nobody brought food.
UNIDENTIFID MALE: This is John Fogerty.
JOHN FOGERTY, AMERICAN MUSICIAN: This is Creedence. My wife and this beautiful dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In '69 his band Creedence Clearwater Revival had three hit albums on the charts and were promised a prime time spot, but like everything else at Woodstock, the schedule went off the rails.
FOGERTY: By the time we hit the stage, it was 2:30 in the morning. And people were asleep. I went up to the mic. I actually said something like, well, we're playing our hearts out for you up here. We sure hope you're enjoying this.
Actually, a fellow out in the darkness, with his lighter comes on, I see this lighter going like that, and I hear him say don't worry about it John, we're with you. Well, he was anyway. And so I played the whole rest of my big Woodstock concert for that guy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My Woodstock experience is what was going on all around us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is Bobbi Ercoline.
BOBBI ERCOLINE, WOODSTOCK PERFORMER: Damp, moist mud, body odor, weed, campfires, cooking, patchouli oil.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 20-year-old nurse is falling in love with a boyfriend of three months at the time. And after they embrace in a pink bedspread found in the mud, they unwittingly end up on the cover of the triple album. Years later, the bedspread fell apart, but the boyfriend, turned out to be a keeper. Nick and Bobbi married 48 years.
ERCOLINE: I like to think that our longevity, our love for each other, is symbolic of what went on at the Woodstock concert amidst all of that chaos. There was an underlying feeling of love and kindness and peace and goodwill and I think it's a nice thing to be remembered for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very peaceful. See, just three out of half a million stories that show why out of countless concerts, Woodstock gets a golden anniversary.
CROSBY: There was a cooperative spirit. There was a generosity to each other.
WEIR: And how do you account for that? Was this just this cosmic loop?
CROSBY: If I knew, I would bottle it and sell it. I would give it away for free. I would generate all there was and spread it around, rub it in my hair at night.
UNIDETFIED MALE: But if the Woodstock documentary is any indication the one guy who should know the secret recipe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike, what's the worst part of running one of these things?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Michael Lang.
MICHAEL LANG,CO-CREATOR OF WOODSTOCK ART AND MUSIC: The worst part?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the worst part about running one of these?
LANG: I don't know. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Through biblical storms and bad acid trips.
LANG: Chips are hungry I got to feed them all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not enough food and angry band managers, he was the impossibly young promoter holding it all together.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are you going to go from here? I mean, are you going to do another one?
LANG: If it works.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, folks, we'll try to get this underway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 50 years later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, hey, hey, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's determined to repeat his magic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to turn this into a free for all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But just like '69, first, he has to convince a few towns' folk, not to fear big crowds or music they don't understand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roslyn Wills (ph) came into the film business having there tremendous success in radio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May be the thing that Rose did best was recognized what he didn't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It felt like something new the transitions, the flash back construction, the reputation certain scenes from different points of view.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That a first director coming to Hollywood under extraordinary pressure made a motion picture that is considered by many to be the greatest one ever made.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's weekend Manchester, Tennessee. Like Coachella, Lollapalooza and countless others, this festival will draw tens of thousands of music fans into the sun. But I wonder how many modern festival goers know that they owe their fun to a small town conservative farmer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first farmer said there's no way I'll let hippies camp out in my hay, so I brought a storybook. I saw in a show window in Woodstock. It's like I said the dirt, the noise, those unwashed dirty girls and boys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One farmer did not think the same. And Max Yasgur was his name. Titled "Max said yes" because in hindsight, the patron saint of this whole deal might be the open minded farmer with the last minute land. See, though they were selling tickets and booking bands, Michael Lang and his band of hippies couldn't find a home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had sacks, you know, we might come is get their daughters. There weren't very many women, but these gorgeous skinny guys might come and get their daughters, so they wanted them out of town quick.
LANG: People in town were scared. People were scared, and that's why we got kicked out of walk hill. They were going to be invaded by these hoards of hippies who were going to rape our cows and see our chickens. God knows what.
LANG: He looked everywhere. Found his field of dreams, and Max said yes, thanks to a backfiring nudge from Max's neighbors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got up one morning and someone had erected a sign on the highway right outside their farm that says don't buy Yasgur's milk, he loves the hippies. And Maryanne, his wife, looked at her husband and said we're going to have a festival, aren't we. Max said, we're going to have a festival.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the wrong approach. Wow.
LANG: If it wasn't for that sign, there may not have been a Woodstock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when he gets introduced in the Woodstock film.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman upon whose farm we are on, Mr. Max Yasgur.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gets as much love as Janis Joplin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Half a million young people can get together, and have three days of fun and music, and have nothing but fun and music, and I God bless you for it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But having a little over a month to prepare for 200,000 turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 35 days, there were people working around the clock. If you look at the movies and Henry's photographs, and lots of other images captured from the time, there were people working around the clock night and day to make this thing happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Losing Wokio (ph) and finding Yasgur's farm forced one of history's great lessons an improv.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy who designed the bridge saying, well, what kind of load do we need? Well, how much does Jimi Hendrix weigh, how much does a typical groupie weigh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 50 years later, we cringe. But it turns out that Woodstock wouldn't be Woodstock, unless the fences come down. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a free concert from now on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And tickets turned worthless.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was on the stage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've never seen anything like this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When a runner runs up on stage and he says the fences are down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just look out for the fence, man. You have to look out for the fence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I see Michael look into the middle distance, and then say, I think we have a free festival. And I said this guy is a genius.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By Saturday, they were the third largest city in New York and they were nearly out of food. Enter this guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am Wavy Gravy, hippy icon, flower geezer, temple of accumulated error.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wavy Gravy was part of a New Mexico commune called the Hog Farm, brought in to show city kids how to camp. But with food donated by locals, they became a hippy FEMA.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Came to the front, please go to the dingy white tent hospital as soon as possible.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never announced a band at Woodstock, I did only live support announcements, like my most famous one of good morning, what we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000. We're all feeding each other. We must be in heaven, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While, there were plenty of people who see muddy hippies as a threat to good American society, they were outnumbered by capitalists who saw that crowd as new customers, hey, what if we sold breakfast in bed to 400,000. What if we created a tie dyed industrial complex that will be worth $31 billion in the next couple of years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But how does the modern Woodstock simulator compare. And how can Woodstock 50 ever compete.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have huge eggs, Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, Imagine Dragons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Miley Cyrus, and on and on and on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I look at my chops as a fan, but I'm worried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm worried too.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Spring of '69, childhood pals, Andy, Richey and Ali hear a most delightful rumor about a most amazing concert, and then they saw on the piece stuff on the guitar fret down at the record store.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the names of the bands are filtered into the conversation, and it was like, oh, my goodness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, The Who, Creedence, Jimi Hendrix. We didn't have tickets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you just came up, hopefully you could get in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I guess. We were stupid teenagers. We went for three days, we didn't have anything with us at all. We just had the clothes we were wearing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And even when we got there Friday afternoon, it was still so uncertain about what was happening that we actually hid in the woods to smoke a joint.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the boys didn't know is that Michael Lang built Woodstock with a very specific vision for festival security.
LANG: Every big concert that summer, there was riots at the gates. People were, you know, trying to get in without paying. They had police there to spread tear gas to prevent it. But our feeling was this is a statement we're trying to make as a culture or a counter culture, and we're trying to see if we can actually make the world function as we hoped it or could.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They tried to hire a few hundred off duty New York City police to create the please force, they had t-shirts that said please, nylon jackets with peace symbol, blue jeans and they were going to be those security.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That attitude combined with the overwhelming crowd forced an experiment, what would happen if security treated drug use not as a scourge to be stopped but an inevitable force to be managed.
RONA ELLIOT, WOODSTOCK '69 ORGANIZER: By the second day, my press tent was turned into the second drug freak out ward.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your name is Bob, guess what, Bob, what, you've taken a little acid, a little LSD, and it's going to wear off. Thank you. Now, when he was down and comfortable and ready to rock 'n' roll, we said, hold it, you see that sister coming through the door with her toes in her nose that was you five hours ago. Now you're the doctor. Take over.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were supposed to go on, okay, you're going to go on in three hours, so about 2 hours and 45 minutes, we all dropped our drugs, ready to go up and perform. Now they're kicking it, go back, go back, go back, okay. So we go and we start playing some music and having fun. That happened three times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're sitting there waiting for the next band to come on in between, and it was Chip Monk with the voice, don't eat the brown acid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The warning that I've received, you may take it with however many grains of salt you wish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody from the medical tent came up and said we think we have a problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chip Monk was hired to build the stage and lighting rings but in a pinch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please call your father at the motel Glory in Wood Ridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Became Woodstock's voice of God. The brown acid that is circulating around us is not specifically too good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was an undercurrent of fear in that for those who had taken it. I tried to make it as light as possible, like a couple idiots, we did something and we were sitting there kind of feeling a little strange but nothing major, and I looked at Carl and I said what color was that. He goes, brown. And I look back at the stage and thought, I'm going to die. This is the last day of my life. I didn't really expect this.
WEIR: In the entrance out at the brown acid wasn't poisonous, it was just poorly made, and in the end despite a crowd that size, there were only two fatalities, one overdose, and one poor camper who was sleeping under a tractor and got run over by an unwitting farmer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But when this many people gather, tragedy seems inevitable. On this day at Bonnnaroo, the body of a young man is found and a medical condition is blamed but modern security is a lot different than the police force of '69.
WEIR: You were saying that this year they're cracking down more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, for sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to wear clear backpacks to come in. They're confiscating so much more things and they're giving way more citations.
WEIR: This generation lives in an America still trying to figure out the right to mount a wrong, while opioids, heroin, fentanyl are shattering entire communities. Recreational cannabis is legal for a quarter of the population, and while illegal, micro dosing LSD is making a trendy comeback.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night, we saw an EDM artist who was hitting more lower bass drops to target the people who were tripping on acid because it like helps their trip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we were told that these psychedelic drugs would allow us to expand our minds and use more of our brain capacity. Obviously the jury came in and we were wrong, and I stopped all of that April 15th, 1975.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, 44 years now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just over a year after Woodstock, Jimi Hendrix would overdose, and from Janis Joplin to Keith Moon, addiction would take so much of the talent that played that stage. There's no telling how many attendees suffered that fate later in life. But that weekend is often remembered as better living through chemistry.
JOHN SEBASTIAN, WOODSTOCK PERFORMER: There was a feeling of camaraderie in that crowd. It came at you off the stage. You could feel it.
WEIR: And that energy, whatever it is, must be why there were virtually no casualties, no mass arrests, no--
SEBASTIAN: And one other thing, pot. Whether we like it or not, folks, it's a great.
WEIR: Hell of a crowd control device.
SEBASTIAN: It's a great thing that the same crowd was not drinking beer. So you got to pick your intoxicants carefully.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up, a lesson in how picking the wrong intoxicant can kill the buzz and sour the harmonies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I walked down stage, you had to turn your head to take in the whole periphery of the audience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Day two of Woodstock, the crowd is now 400,000 deep, and waiting to be entertained. But Santana is stuck in traffic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when organizers spot the lead singer of a psychedelic band out of Berkeley called Country Joe and the Fish, and they ask him to go solo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I said, well, I guess so. I mean, I don't have a guitar. So they went and found a guitar. And I said, I don't have a guitar fret, so they cut a piece of rope, and they said, go out and do something. So I went out and I did something.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At first, no one paid attention. Until he decided to play the rebellious cheer and dark anthem that had already gotten them banned from the Ed Sullivan Show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I went out and I yelled give me an F.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perfect for a crowd angry at Nixon and worried about the draft.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, come on all of you big strong men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the war touched everything in '69, the Woodstock stage was supposed to be politics free.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We weren't going to have people making political speeches on the stage, the strongest political statement we could make was that if it worked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Abbie Hoffman tried to storm the mike in the middle of the who set, Pete Townsend got him off stage with his guitar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: yes he grabbed the microphone and shouted out, remember the Chicago 7, and Pete Townsend standing right behind him and I saw him pick his guitar up, turn it over and go boop, right in the back of the neck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Country Joe's sing along F Bomb resonated show. And when it made the movie, it became a protest song for the ages.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing more powerful than that expletive to express our frustration and our anger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hear more than a few expletives when Childish Gambino plays Bonnaroo but none aimed at America's endless war in Afghanistan, maybe because America has been fighting longer than some of them have been alive, and these days' kids are more worried about getting shot over here than getting drafted over there.
WEIR: Childish Gambino will sing about gun violence in America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
WEIR: Does that resonate with you guys? Do you think a song can actually change society?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For sure.
WEIR: That can be very powerful because today, social media, we're all connected. Do you think this crowd can change the world?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, what do you mean there's over a hundred thousand people.
WEIR: But the people at Woodstock thought the same thing, and look what happened in the 50 years since.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But guess what.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This time now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got to love their passion. The vibe here is so infectious it can change your life.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just got engaged.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations. Oh, that's fantastic. Bring it in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it's obvious that a modern festival, it's a lot easier to get kids to fall in love and party than to get them registered to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are about 80,000 people here, we want to interact with at least 20 percent of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We live in an age of politics and war but nobody here is talking about it. That's why everyone is here to get away from all of that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kaitlan Connor is the sons of one of my best friends, women coming to Bonnaroo since they were babies but for their generation, a festival is a diversion from a messy world.
GRAHAM NASH, CROSBY STILLS AND NASH: I think we did help change the world. It was slower than we thought, but I think that music of the times helped the people get what it was that they wanted to say out to the people that really mattered.
LANG: The truth there was, her thing was the earth, and Woodstock. Civil rights, human rights, women's rights, all of these movements began in earnest in that generation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But can he keep it going in the 21st century. Woodstock officials are now telling us they're going to appeal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, we needed that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our second gig.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At 3:35 on Monday morning. Rock's first super group played their second gig. Crosby Stills and Nash was an instant smash because they could write and harmonize like angels. At the 2015 lighting of the national Christmas tree, they played their last gig. The harmony was gone. They haven't spoken since.
NASH: What does it say that the guys who gave us the most beautiful harmonies ever don't speak to each other anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we do, we're just not speaking to David.
CROSBY: We were all horrible to each other many times. All of us. Unanimously, me probably more than anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was not easy. There you go no brains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember my name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the first interview that we ever did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Cameron Crowe's raw portrait of David Crosby.
CROSBY: A friend of mine gave a shot of heroin, after that, you're trying to catch it, and you never get back there ever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And among the poignant moments, a visit to the Laurel Canyon home where he lived with Joni Mitchell, made this song and wrote with Steven Stills and Graham Nash for the first time.
WEIR: I got to say, it breaks my heart that you don't talk to Graham Nash.
CROSBY: It probably breaks mine a little too, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So do we teach our children that the same things that broke up this band killed the spirit of Woodstock, ego and money, competition, and addiction. Is there no fixing human nature?
CROSBY: The worst thing I did to all of them, none of them are talking about, is me turning into a junky in front of them.
WEIR: While so many of his peers died too young--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost a year ago he walked away from the drug rehabilitation center.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He somehow survived heroin, a Texas prison.
CROSBY: I get up in the morning, it's pretty nice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And eight stents in his heart.
WEIR: This is your happy place?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is most content at home with his wife Jan.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is because of the family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But unable to find peace, love and music with Stills, Nash, and Neil Young, even though the four of them have sold 50 million albums combined.
But at age 77, he found new bands, is on track to put out five albums in five years and like a lot of boomers, is trying to figure out how to write the end of the song.
CROSBY: And this burst of creativity that you have had, you sing about death.
WEIR: Do you think about how you want to be remembered?
CROSBY: Not so much. The songs will do that. They're the best I can do. That's the weird thing, everybody is scared to talk about it, the question is what are you going to do with it? How do you spend that two weeks or that ten years? And I got that figured out. Family, music because it's the only thing I can do.
WEIR: Do you think if he came around, you would welcome him back if he apologized.
WEIR: He wouldn't?
CROSBY: No, when you break that silver cord, metaphorically that connects deep friendship and that cord breaks, very hard to put it back together. I don't want David in my life. CSN will never play again.
WEIR: That's so sad.
CROSBY: It's sad, there's a certain sadness in the loss of the music, but it's the way it is.
WEIR: That for me is sort of a little heartbreaking microcosm of what's happened since Woodstock, if the four guys who gave us these incredible harmonies can't exist conflict free, what hope are there for the rest of us?
NASH: Always remember, those four guys were in conflict long before Woodstock and long after Woodstock. Woodstock was the bright shiny day. It was the exception. Woodstock was a glimpse of what we could have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When producers set out to capture Woodstock on film, they had no idea it would be part concert, part disaster movie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the storm came on Sunday right after Joe. Joe turned around as he came offstage and saw this huge black cloud coming and said, oh, my God, did I do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then it hit. There were lots of those kinds of moments that are dramatic and you just have to have faith that you're going to get through them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So maybe it's fitting that half a century later. Ominous clouds are building over little Vernon, New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay, folks, we'll try to get this underway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have the original papers. There's no diagrams.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of the seriousness of this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where the fate of a modern Woodstock has once again come down to this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In all due respect, all this money you're talking about, all the professionals and you put in applications and no documentation?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a binder of documentation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you've got mixed signals coming--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Townsfolk--
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, hold on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --arguing over the rock vision of Michael Lang. Woodstock 50 has paid 32 million up front dollars. To the likes of Jay-z and Miley Cyrus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are they going to go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They go home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But in a repeat of '69, every day brings disaster.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't speak to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Permits denied.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's absolutely false.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, folks, we can make a determination tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Partners lost, suits filed and another scramble to find another field of dreams with days to go. And what are your odds of actually pulling this off?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we don't give up easily and I think we're going to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's dogged by memories of Woodstock '99 when love- ins turned to mosh pits, arson, and accusations of sexual assault.
A more recent debacle known as fire festival also fuels skeptics as seen in the dueling Netflix and Hulu documentaries, promoter Billy McFarland promised a luxury festival with supermodels and a Caribbean paradise but delivered cheese sandwiches and chaos and was sent to prison. Woodstock 50 has a good sense not to sell tickets without a venue. But their last place was a failing Rasinno, about three hours north of the original Woodstock owned by a billionaire just trying to salvage his investment. Promoters insist they can pull it off safely, but the town decides their last-minute application is sloppy and incomplete.
WEIR: I couldn't help but smile ironically talking to one of the guys who's against you who is worried about if it rains. What's going to happen if it rains?
LANG: He didn't win.
WEIR: Did you see the original one?
LANG: It's just odd that they would take this position in my opinion.
WEIR: Is there any more Max Yasgurs left in the world?
LANG: Not here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As artists pull out one by one, there will be one more stab at a free concert over 300 miles away in Maryland. Before finally admitting Woodstock 50 is dead.
WEIR: You just know that so many of the kids that left this field muddy and happy thought they were going to change the world. But then what happened? One aging hippie I met blames Charles Manson, says after that horrid show no one would ever pick up a long-haired hitchhiker again.
Another hippie I met in Woodstock blames disco and said once that everybody started growing their hair long you can no longer tell the cool people from the bad. Everybody there seemed to have almost religious belief in peace and love and harmony. And yet we've had 50 years of war and class warfare.
CROSBY: We've had a couple of thousand years of war. Look at it the other way around. This was a brief blast of light in the thousands of years of darkness. Look at it as a brief glimpse of what we could have.
ERCOLINE: Well, I certainly was not a hippie back in 1969. I think deep in my heart I'm one now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But for Nick and Bobbi Ercoline, the couple from the cover of the triple album, for them Woodstock was more than just a glimpse at love.
NICK ERCOLINE, BOBBI ERCOLINE'S HUSBAND: She compliments me tremendously. I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for my wife. That's for sure. I need a little time
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he watched his girlfriend the nurse attend to a stranger on a bad trip. NICK: The girls wrapped their arms around him and took him with us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knew she was special. That stranger left a paper butterfly. And 50 years later it is part of a tableau that stirs them like it was yesterday.
ERCOLINE: I see our picture a couple in love in the full frame of the picture to our right on the ground covered in army blanket is our Marine Vietnam vet Corky. He is the peace, he is sleeping.
And on the other side is the butterfly. That's hope. And I hope that this generation and future generations get that same feeling from that picture. There is always hope no matter how chaotic. If you have love and peace and trust, there's always hope.