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Friday, September 30, 2016



     Last Saturday a little piece of Woodstock came to Westchester, via the 12th annual Pleasantville Music Festival. Thousands of people showed up in spite of the iffy weather, and I was there at a booth for the Tarrytown Music Hall, where I volunteer as an usher from time to time. My shirt said "VOLUNTEER" on it, and a lady who thought I was with the festival came up to me and asked where the ladies room was and if there was a lost-and-found. I gave out a lot of misinformation, so I don't know where she went to the bathroom, but hopefully she'll turn up in the lost-and-found, wherever that is.

     There were still vestiges of the hippie culture in evidence. There was a girl dancing with two small Hula Hoops. From far away I thought they were the biggest earrings I had ever seen, but when I got closer, she had a whole routine going- half rhythmic gymnastics, half Harlem Globetrotters. She was way too young to remember Woodstock, and most who did would have had a tough time fitting one of those things around their waist. If you're going to ask her to slow dance you should plan to spot her about twelve feet.

     There was also a beach ball batting around up by the stage, I think one of the savings banks was giving them away at their vendor booth. The next time I turned around there were about 40 of them flying overhead. It was like a huge game of dodge-ball, and even K.T. Turnstall had to be quick on her feet, since if you get hit in dodge-ball, you're OUT.

     And for those of you who thought the tie-dye look was tie-dead, guess again! There were some people there who looked like they might start to cry if I happened to mention I heard that the Fillmore West had closed.

     There was a "beer garden" section to the south of the main stage, although the sky was so overcast I doubted whether any beer would actually grow there. It was fenced off to keep minors out, but instead created illusion of keeping all the alcoholics contained in one area. Some of them did not look as if they could negotiate their way back out even if they wanted to.

     Parents were scrambling to find the most time-consuming thing they could get their children interested in, so that they could enjoy a brief moment in time when it wasn't glaringly obvious that their kids were learning way more in school than they presently knew. They made plentiful stops to all the vendor booths that were handing out free stuff, the face-painting area, and the bouncy castle.

     I was once asked to man the face-painting booth at the Music Hall Family Day, which seemed like fun. When I suggested that we use an exterior grade alkyd paint I got re-assigned to the parking lot detail.

     By the way pre-teenagers will take anything you're handing out, if it's free. They're basically living on a fixed income, so they have a tight budget. They cleaned us out of key chains, so now they all have a place to keep their car keys. It doubles as a bottle opener, so in 12 years or so if they can remember where they put it, they can open a bottle of beer.

     No one lit their guitar on fire the way Jimi Hendrix did, which was a slight disappointment for the fire department. I was never convinced he did it on purpose, anyway- you smoke that many cigarettes and you're bound to light something on fire sooner or later.

     The weather held out pretty nicely until the last act took the stage. Their name was Guster, so when the wind picked up it was perfect symmetry. The crowd was still hanging around, still moving, still dancing. Sure, it may be a couple hip replacements since Woodstock, but that didn't slow people down any more than the knee replacements did. I hope that when I get my knee replacement, they replace my knee with someone's who danced a whole lot better than I can.

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