How is it possible, in this time of social distancing and lockdown, to attend, right here in Brighton and Hove, the world’s largest free festival, with over 500,000 people all squeezed together on a dairy farm in northern New York State?
How is it possible to witness the shooting of Bobby Kennedy; to be on the beach opposite the Kennedy Space Centre watching the launch of Apollo 11; to be part of an anti-Vietnam war riot in Chicago; to be amongst thousands walking along the 17b Road into the festival; to be a chopper pilot ferrying the world’s most famous musicians upstate; to be the captain of a Russian nuclear submarine submerged off the coast of Cuba; to be the guy cleaning out the Port-O-San toilets; to be one far out, trippy festival-goer; to be a musician about to step out onto the stage at Woodstock?
How can you do all this, and yet stay safe, in this day and age?
It’s simple. Award-winning Brighton-based theatre company Something Underground are bringing their new, open air stage show, The Spirit of Woodstock, to Brighton & Hove in September.
What you might not know is that in 1969, at the time of Woodstock there was another pandemic, the H3N2 (“Hong Kong”) virus circling the planet. But this show isn’t about that. It’s about the era that surrounded the “mother of all free festivals…” The politics, the conflicts, the music, the protests, the moon landings, the civil rights movement, the adverts, the Anti-war protesters, the women’s liberators, the music, the musicians and the personalities.
In The Spirit of Woodstock, Jonathan Brown plays 65 of these characters in quick succession, the whole thing imbued with the soundscape of the time. The show was meant to be part of May’s Brighton Fringe, but we all know why that didn’t happen. Now it’s back, with distancing bubbles marked out for you to sit in, and enjoy the whole show with your picnics, wrapped up in anticipation of warm mid-September breezes, and ready to be taken back to a time that for many… was golden.
Something Underground bring The Spirit of Woodstock to Hove’s St Ann’s Well Gardens Thurs 17 – Sun 20 Sept and Thurs 24 – Sun 27 Sept 2020
Get tickets here: (Limited and must be bought in advance to ensure distancing):