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Defining a generation

USPS dedicates Woodstock stamp

Man plays electric guitar.
“Captain” Kirk Douglas of The Roots performs during the Woodstock stamp dedication ceremony Aug. 8 in New York City.

The music festival that took place in upstate New York 50 years ago this week left a lasting impression on the pages of history, Postal Service leaders told attendees at the Aug. 8 dedication ceremony for the Woodstock stamp.

“Woodstock was a defining event of a generation. It became synonymous with the youth counterculture of the 1960s, even as it marked the end of one of the most turbulent decades in modern history,” said Delivery and Retail Operations Vice President Kevin McAdams, who spoke at the event.

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair drew approximately 500,000 people to Bethel, NY, in August 1969. The lineup featured more than 30 influential performers, including the Grateful Dead, The Who, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

The stamp, available at Post Offices and, features an illustration of a dove along with the words “3 Days of Peace and Music,” evoking the original promotional poster for the festival.

The ceremony was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where “Captain” Kirk Douglas of The Roots recreated Hendrix’s famous stirring “Star-Spangled Banner” performance from the festival.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Joel Rosenman and Michael Lang, two of the 1969 festival’s producers; Jayson Kerr Dobney, a curator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Eric Chavez, the Postal Service’s Northeast Area vice president.

In his remarks, Rosenman recalled how Woodstock boasted a population larger than many U.S. cities, although that isn’t how he thought of the festival at the time.

“We weren’t a city, really, and we weren’t unexplainable,” he said. “We were a community — a community that said something to the world about community. And it’s community that I remember most about Woodstock, and that I most wish for … all of us today.”

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