Lucy Dacus on Woodstock: ‘It Cannot be Recreated, But it Can be Re-Examined’
Lucy Dacus has penned an Op-Ed for the New York Times that explores Woodstock’s meaning through the lens of its 1969 incarnation and in light of its 50th anniversary and recently canceled 2019 event.
Titled “Woodstock, a Utopia? Not for Every Generation,” the artist’s essay scrutinizes how the fest is historically viewed and what it means for the generations that followed. Opening with her recalling her first time visiting Woodstock, she reflected on how the “peace and love” spirit touted as part of the 1969 festival was conveyed to her generation “from television characters and veiled anecdotes from our parents.”
“Being born in the ’90s means that Woodstock was a part of my life only as a cultural touchstone, a symbol of something I can never claim,” she wrote. “It’s difficult to decipher whether its aftershocks are coming from the source, or if my impressions of the event are products of distortion through the retelling and reselling of its history.”
Dacus goes on to point out that she appreciates the countercultural of the era. “Peace meant something very specific in the U.S. in August 1969,” she continued. “But the call for peace rings hollow today when the past and the future so miss the mark.”
She cites that violent events occurred at both the original festival as well as the 1999 incarnation and that the site itself was “likely the domain of the indigenous Lenape tribe.”
Dacus, who was booked to perform at the now-defunct Woodstock 50 with Boygenius, said she “was honored that my band was asked to play the 50th anniversary event and I’m sad that isn’t happening.” However, she called the landmark anniversary a “call to action” to examine its past and “excavate more of the truth.”
“The future of Woodstock rests with the people who never knew it firsthand,” she concluded. “It cannot be recreated, but it can be re-examined.” Read Dacus’ full Op-Ed in the Times.