Your local Woodstock

The fortieth anniversary of Woodstock has got people speculating where the spirit of that great festival is to be found these days. (Its impact on fashion notwithstanding).

During the Live Aid festival in 1985, Woodstock veteran Joan Baez proclaimed, “Children of the Eighties: This is your Woodstock!

Now the children of the sixties are getting on in years, and the children of the eighties have all grown up. Where is our Woodstock now?

Simply put, it’s everywhere.

Virtually every sizable town in Canada has a music festival now – folk, blues, rock, pop, country, traditional, ethnic, or otherwise.

You can gather by the local lake or river, camp in your local forest or wander your local city park. Besides the music – much of which is of the very highest caliber – you can browse local crafts, get your hands on instruments, eat a selection of local foods, and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of a weekend village.

I’m partial to Canadian folk festivals, where there’s something for the whole family, whether it’s in the kids’ crafts area or the shiatsu tent or the outdoor beer parlour or at a late-night campfire jam. But the feeling of coming together around music and enjoying the spirit of the summer is common to most festivals, regardless of genre.

Disclosure: my band, The McFlies, played Summerfolk in Owen Sound, Ontario this past weekend. We’re a case in point: children of the 80s, with a folk-acoustic sound that springs from the sixties. The view from the stage was among the best sights I’ve ever seen, as children of half a dozen decades gathered for the simple pleasure of listening, singing and dancing as one. It was not lost on us that we were rocking in the shadow of Woodstock. The spirit was alive at Kelso Beach, if not on Yasgur’s Farm.

Woodstock happened once (okay, technically twice, if you count Woodstock 94) and there’s no going back to that muddy field in August of 1969. But year after year, the festival phenomenon grows, as communities across Canada and around the world embrace and express the love of music, arts & crafts, good food, wellness and togetherness.

Why pine for the long-lost spirit of the sixties in a town far away? The spirit of the summer festival is alive everywhere.

That’s your local Woodstock. Children of this moment – enjoy!

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