It has been 40 years, said Katie Hawkins-Gaar in CNN, but "the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair remains a major cultural touchstone." The three-day festival was huge—with a crowd estimated at 400,000—and it featured the greatest musicians of the era. But the significance of the "peace- and love-filled celebration" seems to grow with every passing year, making "the idea of Woodstock" even bigger than the actual event was.
"Pieces of Woodstock's own crazy world broke off and spun their way into a larger world," said Jeanne McManus in The Washington Post, so even those of us who missed the VW bus have been able to share in its "infectious" spirit. There's something to be said for working hard and being responsible—but sex, drugs, rock 'n roll, "wet sleeping bags, and chaos" have their place, too.
Woodstock is always over-hyped by people who weren't there, said Mark Hosenball in Newsweek. But "as an authentic Woodstock attendee (or should I say victim?)," I can tell you that the festival was "a massive, teeming, squalid mess," and the incredible music didn't make up for it. So if Woodstock's only legacy is that the masses endured such suffering without becoming violent, "what's the big deal?"