I had the good fortune of a brief meeting with Richie Havens, via email, in 2002. A friend of mine Willie Nile had written a song called “On the Road to Calvary” and Richie had included that song on his album, Wishing Well. Willie had written the song for another musical legend who had left us too soon, Jeff Buckley.
And even though the electronic conversation was brief, I couldn’t believe I was communicating with Richie who had opened for Woodstock, again, again and again — but that’s another story.
Creating Woodstock is a great documentary which shows it wasn’t as easy as it looked. The original “Three Days of Peace and Music” were also plagued by uncertainty, last-minute venue changes, a lack of headliners and permits… and in fact it almost didn’t happen.
All of the important moments are covered, including why Crosby, Stills & Nash weren’t going to show, why The Who refused to play, why the Grateful Dead wanted a “do over,” and why Jimi Hendrix almost didn’t make it.
Of course, my favorite part was Richie Havens telling the story of how he was pushed out on stage because no one else was there yet, and the audience had already been waiting two hours. Richie died in 2013.