Jimi Hendrix's dive-bombing guitar runs on "The Star-Spangled Banner." Rain chants. Joe Cocker's chicken strut. The love, mud and three days of music.
The Woodstock experience is a museum piece now.
The Museum at Bethel Woods opens June 2 on the site of the old dairy farm northwest of New York City that was trampled under by some 400,000 people on the wet weekend of Aug. 15-17, 1969. Part of a $100 million music and arts center, it tells the story of Woodstock. Mocked recently by conservative as a "hippie museum," the exhibits actually give a thorough look at the generation-defining concert and the noisy decade that led up to it.
"It's sort of a three-act play," said Michael Egan, who is in charge of developing the museum for the not-for-profit Gerry Foundation. "We tell you the story of the '60s, the story of Woodstock and the story of the legacy of Woodstock."
Displays include a run of the chain link fence placed around the concert site in a futile bid to keep out freeloaders and a plaque telling the story of Leni Binder, a local woman who made peanut butter sandwiches for the concert kids.
But this is a 21st century museum dominated by sounds and moving images. It's hard to find a spot where you can't overhear a crowd chant or a guitar solo pumping from one exhibit or another. There are five interactive exhibits and 20 films playing here, from kiosk shorts to the 50-foot high, wraparound movie that provides a you-are-there version of the concert.