Graham Nash on Woodstock: ‘It Was Both Primeval and Futuristic’
It was only CSNY’s second gig, and they were playing to a crowd of 400,000
We were in New York City with Joni Mitchell, and Elliot Roberts [who managed both CSNY and Mitchell] decided that Joni shouldn’t go to Woodstock because she was also scheduled to do The Dick Cavett Show on TV. It’s one of the great credits to her as an artist that she was able to write the song “Woodstock” without having been there. Of course, when you’ve got all these people babbling at you about what happened, I guess it’s pretty infectious.
And it was overwhelming! It was like Blade Runner, like looking down on L.A. in the year 2050. It was both primeval and futuristic. And there was a hell of an energy emanating from it. Coming in to land, something went wrong with the rudder of my helicopter, so we came down very heavily, and that was scary. When we got out of the helicopter, we were greeted by John Sebastian. We lit up one and had a party in Sebastian’s tent. He was wearing what later became his uniform, tie-dyed long johns and pants, and there was mud halfway up his legs. He was there for the entire three days, so he told us graphic stories about the rain and mud.