December 30, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

Whatever else they wanted, the filth-wallowing hordes who subjected themselves to Woodstock ’94 wanted more than mashing and moshing from a three-day nostalgia trip. They wanted to feel themselves a part of something larger. They craved meaning. And they got it — not from counterculture totems like poet Allen Ginsberg (”I don’t think there is any single answer”) or from the platoons of instant pundits constantly decried from the main stage (”cynics and bulls— press people” was festival promoter John Scher’s description), but from a singular man of the people. Syndicated columnist Gerald Celente, 48, sent a 30-person team from his Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based Trends Research Institute into the melee to poll 6,000 concertgoers. What did his sophisticated market research methods find? Celente, author of Trend Tracking, proudly declared during a Saturday press conference at Woodstock:

*”We have determined that the Spirit of Woodstock is alive, it’s well, and its legs are long and fast.”
*”We’re going to see a new push for activism that didn’t exist before. We’re going to see that activism in the recognition that humans are responsible for all living things.”
*”We have determined that Woodstock has a very high marketability presence throughout the world.”
*”What Woodstock means across the world is that it embellishes the belief of freedom, and the belief that institutions around the world are breaking down, whether it’s [Prime Minister Silvio] Berlusconi in Italy or Clinton in Washington. People are looking for a new voice, and they’re looking for the Woodstock Nation to find it.”
*”I don’t know how much acid has to do with Woodstock.”

Four months later, of course, the budding social revolution has swept Newt Gingrich into power. ”We thought (the festival) would have a bigger carryover than it did,” Celente now says, blaming the organizers’ ”pitiful” postconcert marketing for ”not capitalizing on the mood of the nation.” But he’s keeping the faith, even as conservatives take charge in Congress: ”In effect, by thinking that everyone else is counterculture, they’re going to regenerate more of a movement against the establishment. And that is very much in keeping with the Woodstock Spirit.” And we’ve got to get someone to weed the gar-ar-ar-arden. — Nisid Hajari

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