This article misspelled the name of the musician who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Woodstock anniversary celebration. His name is Conrad Oberg.
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At Woodstock Celebration Without The Old Superstars, Gray Is Groovy
Country Joe McDonald, singing and acting as emcee for the performance, tried to link the 1969 antiwar mood of the crowd to today, with U.S. troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Before the show, McDonald said, "I don't think war will ever be seen the same way again, as a result of, perhaps, the Vietnam generation and the Woodstock generation."
On stage, McDonald asked the crowd for a moment of silence while he read off the names of the nine service members from Sullivan County who were killed in Vietnam, and the five killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then he sang his antiwar anthem, "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag."
But most of the crowd seemed to be here for the music, not the politics. "I love the music," said Matt Krulewicz, 38, from Scranton, Pa. "It's cool to see the young people following the music from 40 years ago." He added, "To see this site 40 years after -- it's really an honor to be here."
Also speaking to the crowd, before the start of the show, was Sam Yasgur, son of Max Yasgur, the local farmer who allowed his 600-acre farmland to be used as the venue after the town of Wallkill a month earlier had refused to grant the permits.
Yasgur told of how his father was brought onstage and introduced 40 years ago, and how he told the crowd, "I think you have proven something to the world. . . . Young people can get together and have three days of fun and music."
The original Woodstock, conceived by four promoters, eventually became a free concert when so many people showed up that they swarmed the ticket booths and began to tear down the fences. Since then, those promoters have been heavily involved in protecting the "Woodstock" brand. Besides the original event turning into an album and a movie, the current reunion -- called "Heroes of Woodstock" -- is being filmed exclusively by Golden Leaf Pictures for release as a DVD in October.
Several other movies and books have recently been released and timed to coincide with this 40th anniversary.