From the moonwalk to Woodstock, major cultural, political and musical turning points abounded. CELEBRATION ’69 is a multimedia presentation that tries to capture the essence of that crazy year through a combination of images, a live band, and storytelling.
Salinas, CA, January 13, 2019 – From the moonwalk to Woodstock, major cultural, political and musical turning points abounded. CELEBRATION ’69 is a multimedia presentation that tries to capture the essence of that crazy year through a combination of images, a live band, and storytelling. The show will open Hartnell’s annual SpringFEST, playing February 8th and 9th in the Studio Theater on the Hartnell campus in Salinas. The show starts at 7:30 with live pre-show music from the era starting at 7:00. Admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted.
CELEBRATION ’69 focuses on six iconic events from 1969: Nixon becomes president, man walks on the moon, Charles Manson masterminds a series of gruesome murders, The Woodstock Music Festival plays to half a million blissful hipsters, the Beatles record Abbey Road, their final album, and the peace and love sixties die a miserable death at a Rolling Stones concert outside the Altamont Speedway in northern California. Each event is explained with images and narration while a live band onstage plays medleys of songs released in 1969 as transitional links. And the audience is encouraged to join in, singing along with those classic tunes that remain popular fifty years later. There’s even a Beatles trivia contest!
In addition to the six iconic events, audiences will learn about countless other major happenings that made 1969 such a unique year: Edward Kennedy severely damages his political fortunes by driving off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island; a giant oil spill fouls the beaches of Santa Barbara and a polluted river in Cleveland literally catches fire, giving birth to the environmental activism movement; the largest anti-war protests in American history take place in November and December; police raid a gay bar in New York City – The Stonewall Inn – and for the first time meet fierce resistance, giving birth to the gay rights movement; Star Trek airs its final episode and Sesame Street its first, and on and on and on. Quite a year.
As well as a live band playing tunes from the year on stage, CELEBRATION ’69 also looks at the explosion of music that occurred that year – debut albums from Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin, Elton John, Chicago, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five, and, believe it or not, that’s just a partial list!
CELEBRATION ’69 was created by Mark Shilstone-Laurent who acts as narrator and plays with the band. In addition to Shilstone-Laurent, the band is made up of talented local musicians, some of whom weren’t even alive in 1969, but, who love to play the songs from that era – just like many people still love hearing them. Special guest star Randall Thayer also makes an appearance.
The show features photos, many of which will be shown for the first time, from the collection of rock photographer/journalist Stephen Robert Caraway who passed away in 2015 but left a treasure chest of iconic images from rock and roll’s biggest stars that starts all the way back in 1967. The show is a memorial to Mr. Caraway’s photos as well as his spirit that never really lost track of what the 60’s tried to be all about – peace and love.
Although CELEBRATION ’69 plays right into the wheelhouse of the Boomers who lived it, it’s a show for anyone who may be curious as to why the 60’s and its music are considered such a big deal – or for history buffs that understand just how unique 1969 was.
Marci Bracco Cain
Salinas, CA 93901