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25 years later, Woodstock remembered as 'cosmic'

They say if you can remember Woodstock, you weren't really there. Of course, that's not entirely true. More than 400,000 people gathered in a farmer's field in upstate New York to attend the three-day music festival in August of 1969, and many have extremely fond - and relatively clear - memories of the event. CBC Digital Archives looks at how the legendary festival has been remembered over the years.

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"Woodstock, for me, was cosmic," says Jonathon Lipsin in this 1994 CBC-TV interview. Lipsin was just one of thousands of Canadians attending Woodstock in 1969, but he says the legendary music festival changed his life. Also being interviewed in this clip is fellow Canadian Lorne Mitchell, now a suit-and-tie-clad businessman. Mitchell and Lipsin fondly recall that fateful Woodstock weekend, and share their thoughts on how the 1960s' ideals have been absorbed into modern society 25 years later.
• While countless Canadians like Mitchell and Lipsin did make it to Woodstock and had a great time, two buses filled with more than 100 Woodstock-bound youth from Toronto were stopped at the Buffalo border and turned away on Aug. 15, 1969. Customs officials suspected the bus passengers possessed drugs. After an extensive search process involving the police, both buses were sent back to Toronto. The incident made headlines in Canada because passengers claimed the officers used more force than necessary.

• In a 2009 Toronto Star article, some of the Canadians on those buses looked back on what happened. They say there were numerous strip searches, officers were armed with billy clubs, and the buses were held on the tarmac for 12 hours before being turned back. As the article explained, "Sleeping bags were sliced open with knives. Luggage was ripped apart. Some of the passengers alleged they were beaten ... A bag of marshmallows was confiscated as possible proof of possession of illicit narcotics. (One girl's) mother had packed her a picnic lunch containing salted hard-boiled eggs. The border officers insisted the eggs were covered in heroin."

• In an Aug. 19, 1969 Globe and Mail article, however, the Buffalo police chief stood by the actions of his officers: "Our narcotics officers are experienced and they recognized that these people were under drugs, due to their staring-eyed looks, their lack of response in some cases and the violence of response on others," he explained. "We used no more force than necessary."

Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 8, 1994
Guest(s): Jonathon Lipsin, Lorne Mitchell
Host: Kevin Newman
Duration: 8:14

Last updated: February 13, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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