By José Oliveira, Journalist/Photographer – Rock At Night France, Switzerland, Portugal
In 1969 the Woodstock Festival was one of those rare moments we could gave shape to everything we wanted at the time! Everything was really possible! But also, is the year when it all comes down to it, with Woodstock and Altamont marking the emergence of giant festivals and the latest illusions of flower power.
How to organize the celebration of Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary? Michael LANG, co-founder of this great event, could have written a book on this topic! But “The Times They Are A – Changin’”! BOB DYLAN was right. The Bands already engaged in the 2019 Woodstock line up require higher fees! The latest news is that Michael LANG has managed severe headaches to find a team of investors able to finance this new adventure. But the last news were not good. According to the ROLLING STONE FRANCE, the festival’s anniversary could be ruined by the misdeeds of a Japanese consortium, which decided to withdraw its main financial participation!! A month before the Festival, the box office wasn’t even open yet!! The Dark Side of Business!!
Not having been able to obtain in 1969 the passport that would fulfill my dream, (see “My Woodstock Story“. I was far from imagining that I would go and experience strong emotions in Saint-Dié des Vosges, in Eastern France.
Santana, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Who were the Tribute Bands of these three days of great communion! The culmination of a project carried out by the Team “LES JARDINS DE LA CHAPELLE SAINT-ROCH“, tending to show that the spirit of Woodstock is still well preserved!
Jean-François RIOTTE (The Promoter)
“Regarding the search, well, it’s necessary to go to different concerts to appreciate each one’s performance and to draw the best conclusions, which represents a huge amount of upstream work”
Far from the Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel , here the site was splendid. In the beautiful gardens, the souls of Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs, the poets of the Beat generation, were omnipresent.
JFR– I was 16 years old in 69 and I was already a music lover. WOODSTOCK was the main event of that time and marked our generation. This spirit of freedom, of sharing this new atmosphere, we, lovers of good music, have conquered us. That’s why I wanted through these 3 nights to relive all this universe with people of my generation and also with younger people. I also think it will stop soon. Because there won’t be more celebrations for the 60th or 70th anniversary of WOODSTOCK!!! Well, this is my own opinion!
Rock At Night was there only the two last days. All the Bands made an extraordinary and intense performance. Seven Tribute Bands on three days, a marvelous recipe of Peace and Music, blended with community and Love.
JOAN BAEZ by Flora HEBRIGE
Flora HEBRIGE (JOAN BAEZ Tribute) was honored to open the second day of the festival. Her determination and commitment to the many actions for a better awareness of military disarmament and environmental problems were wellexplained in our interview. Musically, her voice and the guitar play of Philippe pleased to all the nostalgic JOAN fans.
RAN– Why did you decide to make a Tribute to JOAN BAEZ? Usually we make tributes to people who have already left us.
Flora– Well, if I’m not mistaken, JOAN BAEZ is currently very busy, doing her farewell tour. The Promoters thought it wouldn’t be a nice Homage to Woodstock if we didn’t have JOAN BAEZ in this fantastic event. Given the importance she had and everything she represents, it would have been a shame if she had not been represented here.
RAN– In the Sixties she was the apostle of Peace, fiercely opposed to the Vietnam War, fighting against violence… But today, what are your main concerns?
Flora– More than ever, towards Ecology! As you know, the rates of arms have reached the same level as during the Cold War. In terms of an increase in the budget for armaments in France and in other countries of the world, especially nuclear power. A large part of it, is invested in nuclear power. We can imagine that it is related to environmental problems, including the war on natural resources. I think that today, the fight for Peace, it will pass through the fight for Ecology!
RAN– What was the period of JOAN BAEZ that most affected you?
Flora– I was born in 78, a little bit after the time so we’re talking tonight. I was more marked by her songs and by JOAN images, singing for Peace or fighting for the Civil Rights. When I worked on her repertoire with Phillipe, my GuitarPlayer, there was a song that particularly touched me! «DIAMONDS AND RUST»!!
JANIS JOPLIN by Gianna CHILLA
There was a huge expectation to hear Gianna CHILLA. She came from Italy and her set was announced as something very close to JOPLIN’s magic universe!
I must confess that when her Manager led me to her, sitting in a beautiful spot, I felt immediately all the passion for Janis, who lived in this Diva Italian perfect body.
RAN– Since when does your Tribute Band to JANIS JOPLIN exist?
Gianna Chilla – Now is my tenth year! Five years with this fantastic Line Up. Yeah, ten years now singing JANIS but in fact I’ve been singing Janis for all my own life!! Better saying, I’ve been loving Janis for all my life! You know, singing JANIS it’s not enough to love her!! You have to have that kind of voice, because is a particularly voice and I must say I didn’t have it before!!! Twelve years ago I think, I had a very big health problem that affected my vocal chords. The Doctor said it was serious enough to stop singing. I followed his advice and a drastic treatment and the miracle happened! Suddenly he said “Gianna, you can go anywhere you want. Now you have JANIS voice!!!! You know, I saw it as a sign!! I’ve been to her house in Texas, and visited some places where she was, a sort of pilgrimage, you know (laughs). Of course, I do other things with my own music, my own songs, my own albums but JANIS will be in my heart forever!
RAN– What’s your feeling about WOODSTOCK ?
GC– I would have been so lucky to be there. Unfortunately, I was born long years after. Meanwhile, I‘ve always been thinking that it could have been in my time. I feel like a Hippie! (laughs) But in the wrong place, in the wrong time!!!
RAN– And you lost an opportunity to taste the famous Southern Comfort.
GC– Oh! There’s been a time, to drink was also a part of my life but I was clever and stopped it. You know, it was best not to join the famous Club of the 27’s!! (laughs) Anyway, Woodstock was everyone’s dream I think. I mean the people who were there loved that kind of culture, loved the mentality …searching for a new kind of life, for more freedom! All the people over the world, know that this incredible experience was a step for many changes! Of course, I’ve been dreaming about it all my life but I don’t think there’s gonna be another Woodstock anymore!!!!
It was the time to do it and at the right place. It was Love Supreme. Compassion and fight against the Vietnam War!! People saying something from the heart against something that was happening. Right there, at that moment.
RAN– And it was time for Free Love!!!!
GC– Yeah! Of course, José!!(laughs) As well, of course!! RAN– You’re part of this World Tribute Wave to Woodstock. People was expecting something new in Music but finally, this revival is the way.
GC– I will say something that goes against what I do, maybe. I DON’T LOVE IT !!!! The reason why I don’t love it, it’s because many of these Tributes are made without respect and love! They think that dressing like the artist , well we in Italia we say, “Scimmiottare”, singing like the artist, it’s enough but they’re not like them inside!!! I don’t care about dressing like JANIS!
RAN– In that sense, I agree with you! Is this movement also touching Italy?
GC– Oh! Yes. Some of them are really great. There are Tribute bands of anything. I think Italy is one of the most powerful scenes of this movement after Australia. They are the first ones in the world.
It’s just a kind of culture there. I don’t like when they make Tributes without Respect !!! To make a Tribute means to really understand what the artists lived. In my concerts when I sing JANIS, I tell about Janis. I tell about her life. why she did sing like that. I tell about her irony but also about her fragility, the troubles she went through and why she became this wonderful Pearl!!! I can say that there are songs that shake me the most than others! I mean, emotionally. Sometimes, the hardest thing is not to cry!!!
Thanks to Frany for the video mix.
Ready for “A Fantastic Tribute to WOODSTOCK 50th Anniversary Day 2” with JIMI HENDRIX by ASEP STONE, CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL by CCR REVIVAL, THE WHO by SUBSTITUTE …?? Check it out on August 16!!
I was born in Portugal and lived the Sixties exploring the great UK Rock magazines: "The New Musical Express" and "Melody Maker". Ray Charles and Pat Boone were my father’s fav. I became “The Great Pretender”. Cliff Richard was our Elvis Presley. As a beach boy, with my first guitar, I met a beautiful French girl on the beach! It was the Summer of 69!! We got married and rock music was our dowry. In France, I became a Wine Genetic Research Scientist. One of my works contributed to the decoding of the genome of the vine! As a rock journalist, I’ve worked twenty years for the Portuguese and Brazilian Rock Press. I ‘ve interviewed so many great artists. Then, one day I met FRANK ZAPPA! I got into trouble for introducing my wife to "Uncle Meat"!
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