Woodstock Took Place During A Major Pandemic Yet, Wasn’t Canceled
Woodstock took place during a raging pandemic that no one seemed to care about at all.
Billed as three days of peace and music, it ultimately became three days of mud, bad acid, food shortages and madness. Almost half a million people crammed into one relatively small space in upstate New York, (see photos here), and hugged, had sex, shared joints and other drugs and basically shot what we know as "social distancing rules" to hell.
According to cdc.gov, the '68-'69 pandemic one of many was caused by the H3N2 virus which originated in Hong Kong. (Again with China.) It was estimated to have killed 1 million people worldwide and about 100,000 here in the United States with most of the fatalities being people 65 years and older. (Sound familiar?)
Ultimately, with the exception of some fried brain cells and (probably) a handful of unintended pregnancies, everybody at Woodstock was fine. I'm not suggesting we should drop all the safety precautions and start rescheduling festivals but with some common sense practices in place, I wouldn't be worried about catching a show at Rock House or B-17's. Or even the Coliseum or the Haskins Center for that matter.
Getting back to the '68-'69 pandemic, the government simply monitored the situation. They didn't shut things down or cancel Woodstock, they didn't order everyone to stay home, the stock market didn't crash, no one opened up the jails and nobody got arrested for going to work or visiting friends.
What's the difference, festival-wise, between 1969 and 2020? Did the government in '69 realize all that was unnecessary? Were they underinformed? Too busy with Vietnam, civil rights and everything else that was happening then?
Or, did they see a chance to wipe out most of the hippies in one shot?