The Holy Grail for all rock lovers, Bethel Woods, New York, came alive in the summer of 1969 with Woodstock. It was one of the most significant music festivals the world had ever seen. Beginning May 23 till 26, Bethel Woods got back into action for yet another experience — this time with the likes of Nicky Romero, Steve Aoki, Pete Tong and Booka Shade at Mysteryland.
When I was going through their website, I could not help but compare both the festivals — 1969 and 2014. More than 40 years later, we have a festival on the hallowed grounds of Woodstock, with a bunch of artistes better known as DJs.
Artistes who mix pre-recorded music for an audience. I knew it wasn’t right to compare artistes like Steve Aoki to Jimi Hendrix or Nicky Romero to Joe Cocker, but I was so tempted and I did. I realized how far we have come in dismissing anything that made sense — especially in music.
The Woodstock mud-fest cost festival goers $24 for a premium ticket while Mysteryland is more than $400. And all things considered, you are paying to listen to recorded music. I would happily save the dollars and plug in my good old iPod, invite friends over and hold a festival in my living room!
I realised that there has been a vast change in the way we consume music. Music was a way to spread a message. It was a tool to bring about cohesiveness in a community like it did at Woodstock, albeit largely for hippies, but with the message of peace and music for everyone. In the current scenario, it is all about laid back “happy” clubbing, not caring about the rest of the world. Today, it’s all about being a part of a mindless party. All in favour of artistes who earn millions just to throw fists in the air. Quick Trivia Carlos Santana was paid $1,500 for his gig at Woodstock and was the least paid at the festival. Jimi Hendrix was paid the highest at $32,000. Clearly money doesn’t talk these days, it sings!
-Trigam Mukherjee (m firstname.lastname@example.org) Trigam is a music and radio expert. The writer’s views expressed here are in his personal capacity.