This is the story about how the three-day, love and music festival, known as “Woodstock” happened. This film is based on the true story behind the scenes of how this event came into being. Demetri Martin plays the lead character of Elliot Tiber. Elliot is an interior designer trying to make it in New York when he must come to the rescue of his parents. His parents, Jake (played by Henry Goodman) and Sonia (played by Imelda Staunton), own a run-down resort motel in upstate New York that is falling apart. They are behind in their mortgage payments and the bank wants to foreclose on the property. Elliot sinks all his money into helping the place, convinces the bank to give them until the end of the summer to get caught up on the payments, and works with his parents to manage and improve the motel. Elliot is president of the local chamber of commerce. Each year Elliot produces a summer music festival to try to attract visitors to the small resort community, so they always give him a permit for his event, even though it brings in only a few people. For a single dollar, they grant him the event permit for a summer music festival as they always do.
Elliot reads in the newspaper that the Woodstock festival promoters are having trouble getting a permit to hold their event, which is expected to be massive. Elliot contacts the Woodstock event producer Michael Lang (played by Jonathan Groff) to offer him an alternative place to hold his concert, since Elliot already has a permit. Lang and his tribe fly in on a helicopter to check everything out. Elliot is close friends with a local landowner Max Yasgur (played by Eugene Levy) who has abundant land to accommodate the large crowd. At first they agree on $5,000 rent, then Yasgur finds out they have already sold 100,000 tickets so he ups the price to $75,000 which is a fortune in the 1960's. The financiers reluctantly agree, because they have no other options, as they cannot obtain a permit anywhere else.
Elliot's parents are very happy when Elliot brings home a bag of cash that he was given by Lang to rent out the entire motel for the summer. Not only are all the rooms rented out, but also they will make profits on everything else they can sell to the concertgoers. This is a huge windfall for them and enough to pay off the mortgage completely. The motel immediately fills with all the people needed to set up the concert. Elliot's dad Jake is running the bar and beer sales are flow like crazy.
When the local town finds out what Elliot is doing, they shun him, especially after the public performance of the avant-garde theatrical troupe that Elliot has allowed to take up residence in his barn. The performers are the “Earthlight Players.” Their public show consists of them stripping naked in front of the crowd and running through the audience yelling at them. Elliot is worried when the building inspection department officials show up with code violations. Lang the producer of the festival tells him not to worry; he has lawyers to deal with such things. A criminal gang shows up at the motel bar. The two tough guys tell Elliot's dad he must buy beer from them. Instead of being intimidated, Elliot's father beats them down with a baseball bat. The entire crowd stands behind him and they throw the bad guys out.
A transvestite shows up, Vilma (played by Liev Schreiber) who is a tough person, having previously served in the military during the war. Vilma offers her services to manage motel security and has the guns on her, to back up her efforts. Elliot hires her on the spot to protect his parents and the motel. Elliot's parents get along with Vilma very well. Elliot is not sure if they know that Vilma is a man dressed as a woman. Vilma tells him being strong enough to be yourself is all that matters. This helps Elliot, because he is just beginning to come to terms with his own emerging homosexuality.
When the concert starts, Elliot's father tells him to go see the event. His father is so happy they are no longer under financial stress and he wants his son to have a good time. Elliot befriends a police officer, who is surprisingly at peace with all that is happening. The officer gives Elliot a ride on his motorcycle up to the concert area. A hippie couple invites Elliot to take LSD. He is shy at first but he enjoys the psychedelics with them and let's himself relax into the experience. Elliot goes back to the motel the next day a changed person. Elliot is ready to be free. His mother tries to contain him and keep him from going away. Elliot gets upset and tells his parents to eat some of the pot-brownies made by Vilma.
Elliot goes back to the concert again. Even it is raining and there is mud everywhere, he has a great time. When he gets back to the motel, his parents are high from the pot-brownies, and laughing uncontrollably. The next morning Elliot discovers his mom has a hidden stash of cash in the huge amount of $97,000 that she has greedily kept for herself, even when the family was desperate for money. This convinces Elliot to finally give himself permission to be free of them.
As the concert winds down, Elliot has packed his things in the car to head off for his life of newly found freedom. He says good-bye to Lang, who rides up on horseback. They both marvel at the scene while the clean-up crew works, realizing they made history.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like this story because it explains things about how the event was able to happen, that were previously not known that well.
Best scene in story:
The best scene is when Elliot takes LSD with the young couple because at first, he is nervous, yet they calm him, and he has a great time.
Opinion about the main character:
The transformation that Elliot makes is remarkable which allows him to find personal freedom in the end.