The most legendary artists from the sixties in one weekend on the same stage, constant shifts in the order of performances and many more visitors than expected; August 15 it was fifty years ago that the Woodstock festival was organized. In the Netherlands, the band Strange Brew and guest singers such as Paul de Munnik and Ricky Koole pay tribute to the music of the festival.
Koole did not have to think long when she was approached by the producer to participate in the concert series Woodstock: One Night of Peace and Music , which will be concluded on Saturday in the Concertgebouw. In the tribute to the festival the songs of artists such as Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Creedence Clearwater Revival come along.
"I was asked if I wanted to take on the part of Janis Joplin in the show. She is a singer you don't dare to worry about because of her tough and specific style. But I was immediately enthusiastic," says Koole in conversation with NU.nl.
"Woodstock was the pioneer of music festivals"
The singer and De Munnik both have their own idea about what made Woodstock so legendary that we still talk about it today. "It was a kind of paradise; the ultimate celebration of music and the start of festivals as we know it today," says De Munnik.
"Woodstock really had the role of pioneer. The organizers have set a stage and have just started to do it. It became a chaos with many more people than they had expected. Something like this could no longer happen today, but that did contribute to that at the time the legend that Woodstock is ", according to de Munnik.
Koole attributes part of the festival's status to the documentary Woodstock that appeared in 1970. "The documentary contributed to the fact that it is still engraved in our memory. The festival was of course so special, because many artists did not survive that era (Joplin and Hendrix both died a year later, in 1970, ed.)", she says.
"The music also played a major role in a period when young people first made time for their youth and looked around before they immediately started working. There was more prosperity and with that more time and space for young people for their parents and the serious life just turn your back on it. "
"We play for people who have real memories of Woodstock"
For Koole, Joplin is the Woodstock artist she would have preferred to see live at work. "I never got that chance (Koole was born in 1972, ed.) And I wanted to experience if she was really that good. I am pretty sure, because she always went for it."
De Munnik realizes that all musicians with whom they play the concerts were born later than Woodstock took place. However, a large part of the audience has consciously experienced the period. "We play for people who have real memories of Woodstock. Just like us, they enter such an evening full of enthusiasm. It is great if they relive those memories in such a way," said the singer.
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"There is still a need for these songs"
When he plays a song like White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane, Koole notices that the music is still alive. "The room is full of enthusiasts and you feel the excitement when such a song is used. There is a need to hear those songs and that is very pleasant for us."
Yet the artists do not feel any additional pressure from the audience that they know the original performances through and through. "It is not just cover evenings that we do. We are really trying to restore that atmosphere of the past", says Koole. De Munnik agrees. "We do not make exact copies, because we are also not Hendrix or Joplin. The atmosphere at Woodstock must have been completely crazy and we try to respond to that. We are going on stage with that feeling."