A Woodstock Sighting with Justin Kreutzmann

Dean Budnick on August 26, 2022
A Woodstock Sighting with Justin Kreutzmann

Here’s another perspective on Woodstock, drawn from my July/Aug Ed Note, courtesy of Justin Kreutzmann…


Do you remember that time your dad took you to the Woodstock film and you discovered that you were in the Woodstock film as a 10-week-old baby?

Yeah, me neither.

However, one of the fine folks I interviewed for our Jerry Garcia cover story had that very experience. Oh yes, and his dad, who performed at Woodstock, appeared in the film as well (although not as a performer).

With that little wind-up, since August is the month of both the Days Between and Woodstock, here’s Justin Kreutzmann…

I was nine or ten years old and just getting into film when our local Marin County theater had a double play of Monterey Pop and Woodstock. My dad asked me if I wanted to go see them even though I’m not sure that reliving Monterey Pop and Woodstock were really at the top of his list.

I can remember watching The Who in Monterey Pop and thinking, “Oh my God, this is like so good.” I kept saying to my dad, “Where are you guys?” and he was like, “Yeah, we’re not in this one.”

I asked him again when Woodstock came on and he said, “We’re not in this one either.” But then as I looked up at the screen, I was like, “Hey, isn’t that you and mom?” Then as I looked like a little closer, I saw a little baby and I said, “Wait, is that me?” He told me, “Yeah, that was the first show we took you to.”

To this day, I still wonder, was every babysitter in the world busy that day?

That was my first moment of putting it all together because I had been told I’d been there but it didn’t mean much to me. But then to see myself in the film, I was like, “Oh, there’s Pigpen and dad and mom. Cool.”

That experience also reminds me of when I was a kid and would spend time with the Keseys. I hadn’t read any of the books, but I could ask him questions and get these really insightful answers from the guy who wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

I always feel fortunate being able to learn in unofficial ways. The thing is keeping your mouth shut and listening. Don’t be that guy who feels he always has to interject. You can pick up a lot of stuff that way. I think it was good training for being a documentary guy.

Justin’s latest documentary, Let Be There Drums! will open in October, with his Jerry Garcia film to follow early next year…