Groovy South Surrey wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Taylor Leigh Photography Clockwise from top; friends and family had a license to express their grooviness at a Woodstock ‘69 themed wedding in South Surrey; Lidia Klimek receives her wedding ring from James Rockwell; guests give a peace sign in their far out attire.

Fifty years after missing out on his dream of attending Woodstock, a White Rock man got to live out the long-awaited experience last Saturday, tie (dye) ing the knot with his fiancée on the golden anniversary of the famous music festival.

A righteous event that spun a counterculture movement into three days of “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll,” Woodstock 1969 still stands for many purists, including James Rockwell, as the Woodstock.

For five decades, anniversary concerts have been held around the globe, each one falling short of what the original music festival – held in mid-August on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York – brought (and meant) to the ‘flower power’ children of the ’60s.

That spirit of love and connectivity was celebrated in Crescent Beach over the weekend – exactly 50 years after the legendary event.

Rockwell, dressed in a ‘Beatles’ wig – and looking as if he just walked up to the ticket-booth at Woodstock (before the fences were kicked down by hordes of unexpected people) – exchanged rings with Lidia Klimek, who wore a groovy teal dress with knee-high white boots and held a bouquet of sunflowers, at Blackie Spit on Aug. 17.

“We celebrated the wedding in a Woodstock fashion. We called it a Love-In,” Rockwell told Peace Arch News, adding that their themed wedding received total buy-in from their guests.

About 35 people turned up to the ceremony – each person dressed in more ‘shagadelic’ fashion than the last.

Wedding guests rolled in decked out in tie-dye and far-out jewelry, carrying signs that read “Groovy,” “Save the Planet,” and “Leave Vietnam as a Tourist.”

Rockwell described it as “fabulous.”

“It was amazing to see how creative everyone was and how authentic everyone was. You couldn’t even tell who your friends were when they came up because it was so well done,” Rockwell said.

At the reception, the traditional white tablecloths were replaced by tie-dyed colours. The walls paid tribute to the legends: Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa.

No detail was spared, down to the pen used to sign the marriage certificate, which was was shaped like a mushroom.

Unfortunately, when Rockwell was 16 years old, he missed Woodstock ’69. He was en route to the concert from Nova Scotia, but “had a little border trouble.”

“As a young hippie at the time, I was anxious to join the experience, now 50 years later, my friends made it come true,” Rockwell said.

Asked if the themed wedding made up for the missed festival, Rockwell was quick with his response.

“It did. There was just a lack of drugs at this wedding. Last time, there was plenty,” he laughed.

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James Rockwell and his wife Lidia are photographed with the guests of their themed Woodstock wedding. (Taylor Leigh Photography)

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