Northern Ireland - 1969 - Getty Images

Northern Ireland - Rock Festival of a different sort. (photo: Getty Images).

August 15, 1969 – And While The Scent Of Incense And Patchouli Wafted In One Part Of The World – The Scent Of Teargas And Burning Tires Wafted In The Other –

Northern Ireland - 1969 - Getty Images
Northern Ireland – Rock Festival of a different sort. (photo: Getty Images).
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While the much-fabled Woodstock Festival was getting underway for its first day, the world was spinning wildly away as usual on this August 15th in 1969.

From Northern Ireland, Catholic and Protestant rioting was raging on. British troops were being reinforced and rioting was spreading rapidly. It was a decades-long struggle to which there seemed to be no end in sight and no end of violence to go along with it as teargas canisters exploded in Belfast streets. In Vietnam the story was pretty much status-quo – no lights, not even of freight trains, at the end of the tunnel. However, news of a Freight Train moving across the country carrying World War 1 vintage poison gas had people along the route concerned. And even though the event passed without incident, it didn’t mean there wouldn’t be similar situations happening in the future that didn’t go according to plan. Train derailments of potentially lethal cargo would become more commonplace in the years to come, but in 1969 it was new and no one seriously questioned potential hazards.

Since this edition of the news came from a local California station, KSRO in Santa Rosa, there was news of goings on locally. Governor Reagan was figuring in prominently with yet more mental health facilities facing closure. College students were faced with instant expulsion if they were suspected of disrupting classes. And the grisly investigation of the Sharon Tate murders was continuing.

No mention of Woodstock though – on this day in 1969 it wasn’t even news at the time. It was just another festival in upstate New York and news about Rock Music and Concerts wasn’t in the scheme of mainstream news in 1969, unless it was involved in tragedy, rioting or teargas of some sort. A bit like news now, but the rest of the world went on as usual, this August 15, 1969.

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