Woodstock: The creation and evolution of a myth

Jo Raelene Sorrell, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


In this thesis, the 1969 Woodstock festival will be studied as a myth which has been perpetuated by the media. To show that Woodstock has indeed become a myth, this study looks at the way the festival has been reported in the media and understood by the public; First, Woodstock is analyzed as a cultural event of the 1960s. That decade is described in order to give the reader perspective about the political and sociological influence that Woodstock has on American culture; A number of scholars, including Eliade, Braden, and Rowland, have theorized that myth is an important cultural event. The journal articles and books are used to create a definition of a myth. Woodstock is compared to the deductions of these scholars to show that the myth follows their rules; Newspaper articles from August, 1969 are examined to see how reporters depicted Woodstock. Current articles, starting from 1989, are analyzed to show the influence of Woodstock on American society; Results of a survey conducted about the average person's perceptions about the festival is discussed. Personal interviews with two men who attended Woodstock are also mentioned. The information from these people are examined in order to show that the Woodstock festival has become a myth.