PBS Announces Woodstock Documentary Honouring Festival’s 50th Anniversary

“Unlike Michael Wadleigh’s classic 1970 documentary, our film turns the cameras around, into the audience”, said American Experience executive producer Mark Samels.

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It’s often said that “if you remember the sixties, you weren’t there”, and now PBS will give those who were (or were not) there a refresher with their upcoming Woodstock documentary in 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the three-day concert.

Directed by Barak Goodman, who’s best known for known for his previous documentaries Scottsboro: An American Tragedy (2000) and Oklahoma City (2017), the two-hour film will explore the events that culminated in the historic concert.

The Woodstock documentary will be part of PBS’ American Experience series, which has been on the air for 30 years and past films have included That Rhythm, Those Blues and Summer Of Love.

“Unlike Michael Wadleigh’s classic 1970 documentary, our film turns the cameras around, into the audience”, said American Experience executive producer Mark Samels.

“By focusing on individuals – from concert goers to security guards to performers to local residents – Woodstock expands our understanding of the event as not only an unparalleled musical milestone, but a once-in-a-century cultural phenomena that served as a coda to the sixties and a harbinger of the decades to come.”

Woodstock takes the macro approach to this legendary concert and turns its lens to the turbulent decade that birthed this once-in-a-lifetime event. From the Vietnam War to the racial, generational and sexual politics at play and how they begat a countercultural revolution.

Director Barak Goodman added, “For three days in August, 1969, the values of ‘peace and love,’ loudly championed by the counter-culture movement, were actually put to the test in the miserable conditions at Woodstock. The 500,000 people who attended the festival proved that they were more than just words. For a surprising number of people, that brief encounter with sacrifice, cooperation and generosity changed their lives. I think Woodstock continues to inspire because the grace demonstrated there was real and enduring.”

This film follows another critically-acclaimed PBS documentary of the same era, Ken Burns’ expansive series, The Vietnam War.

Woodstock is set to air in the summer of 2019 in the US.

Format: Union Jack flagUK English


  1. Norman

    January 25, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Frankly, I’m thinking that this new “documentary” will be the same old people talking about the same old things in the same old bubble, and they’ll all be white. There’s this “legend” about Woodstock, mostly among people who weren’t there, that’d make you think the Festival was monochrome. It wasn’t. There were asian, latino and black attendees there, but I doubt you’ll hear much from them nor see them in this new project. Wouldn’t want to mess with the “image”, you know. So yet another American occurrence will be subjected to a “whitewashng”, robbing it of its full stature and breadth. And as we said back then, if everybody who said they were at Woodstock really was there it would’ve been a city the size of Chicago. Which it wasn’t, believe me.

  2. Cal

    February 20, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Why would anyone want to Whitewash Woodstock? The idea of multi-races is true to the ideal…on stage and off. Methinks you are protesting a personal grievance and using Woodstock as an outlet. You’ve missed the point entirely, whether you were there or not. Bitter comment, man.

    • Anna

      August 3, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      I’m 65 and no one I know ever thought of Woodstock as a “white” event. “Norman” is probably a Russian troll. They’re not just trying to stir up political trouble, but cultural war in every direction. They’re everywhere, on many “comments” sections – not just FB & Twitter. Obnoxious. Be gone, troll – you have no power here!

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