“Oh, I definitely need one of those!”
An eager audience member at the Los Angeles Special Screening of “Creating Woodstock” excitedly investigated the details of David Edward Byrd’s original poster for the 1969 musical gathering. Wants and needs, the questions of which are normally reserved for conversations during acting classes, are exactly the kinds of consideration and navigation that led to Woodstock itself: “Young men with unlimited capital,” the very words that the founders put in their original newspaper ad looking for ideas, seeking to turn those resources into something harmonious and memorable. That was the want. The film “Creating Woodstock,” directed by Mick Richards and produced by Eric Morris, attempts to share the needs; the very real issues and challenges that surrounded the music festival. The exploration shared some familiar albeit stereotypical stories (drugs, peace, and love) and unfamiliar tales (This is the first time I’ve ever heard the claim that Joni Mitchell simply wasn’t invited to the festival as opposed to choosing not to come. She ended up writing the song “Woodstock” based on the retelling of the experience by Graham Nash.).
The stories embedded in the documentary are strong on their own, each a potential screenplay or project in their own right. Some are addressed with humor, and others are not addressed with a sufficient amount of time. But just like the festival, a DIY approach might get something out in the world faster than a narrative film production. This film is not out to win awards nor is it an attempt to share all the performances (The documentary film “Woodstock” is still the best way to view those). “Creating Woodstock” is an homage, a gift from one friend to another to thank them for creating one of the seminal music experiences of the last 100 years.
At the end of “Creating Woodstock,” a lengthy in-memoriam section highlights how many of those involved in the music festival, either as a musician or as an organizer, have passed away. In some way, those names push us to remember that event, soaked in rain, enveloped by a weird smell, and yet, still a legendary piece of pop culture. It is still ripe for storytelling if anyone can get their hands on one of those stories.
During the introduction to the film, GRAMMY Museum Founding Executive Director Bob Santelli shared that it was “unfortunate” that the 50th Anniversary show was recently canceled. But, as he remarked, with Joel Rosenman, John Morris, and Bill Belmont in attendance at the event, he noted, “we’re having it right here.”
Creating Woodstock is now available on Vimeo, iTunes, and Amazon. More at http://cinemalibrestudio.com/creating-woodstock/