Tallahassee woman remembers Woodstock 50 years later

Tallahassee By: Julie Montanaro/WCTV Eyewitness News
August 16, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (WCTV) -- A half million people flocked to Woodstock 50 years ago this week to hear the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Carlos Santana. The three day music festival would become one of the most iconic events of the 1960's.

A Tallahassee woman was there in the crowd. She says the gathering was about so much more than the music and still is.

"It was another lifetime," Sandy Beck said with a laugh as she flipped through old photos. "I had long hair then."

Sandy Beck was Sandy Kampf then. A 19 year old living in New York City.

"About three months before Woodstock, i was writing for the school newspaper and I had the amazing experience of interviewing Richie Havens," Beck said.

Beck still has a copy of the article she wrote about folk singer Richie Havens. That interview led to a summer job writing poetry and ultimately Havens handing her four tickets to Woodstock.

"Just on the condition if I could just drive his secretary up there. I said sure. Far out. So we left town really early before the New York Thruway was closed and we got there really early and I had a great parking space so I never slept in the mud," Beck said. "It was amazing."

Havens was the opening act.

"The music was our pulse. Great music. Non-stop music," Beck said.

Beck would spend the next few days sleeping in her car and soaking it all in.

"I brought a case of beans with me and I had my Sterno stove and I set up a kitchen and I fed beans to everybody until my food ran out. So that was the spirit of the festival," Beck said. "There were half a million people, yup half a million people. It was very empowering to see people who not only looked like you, but shared your values and your hope for the future."

Sandy remained friends with Richie Havens the rest of his life and says Woodstock still resonates 50 years later.

"It was the energy. It was everybody coming together. Love, peace and happiness," Beck said. "This energy is still important today. It's probably never more important than it is today."

Beck says there will probably never be another Woodstock.

"It'll never happen again because of people worrying about suing, about being sued, about insurance, social media ... something like this wouldn't happen. There are too many lawyers," Beck said with a laugh.