Hey,” said one of the 90,000 spectators at Peace Sunday last week in the Rose-Bowl, “this is like an old California freaky festival.” That wasn’t the half of it. While the football stadium rocked to the music of Crosby, Stills and Nash, Jackson Browne, Stevie Wonder and Linda Ronstadt on a warm day in June, Pasadena could almost have passed for Woodstock. But this day-long benefit for the nuclear disarmament movement—timed to coincide with this month’s U.N. disarmament session—also summoned up memories of other scenes from the ’60s. When Bob Dylan and Joan Baez harmonized on Dylan’s haunting anthem Blowin’ in the Wind, they provided a moving echo, 20 years later, of the Newport folk festivals of the ’60s. When L.A. pastor James Lawson paraphrased Martin Luther King Jr. with a cadenced cry of “We have a dream,” he conjured up a vision of the historic 1963 civil rights march on Washington. And when Michael Kennedy invoked the memory of his father, Robert, murdered 14 years earlier to the day, he recalled the desperate hopes of a violent year: 1968. “We are committed now, as my father was then,” said Michael, “to the ancient dream of which he spoke so often—to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world.”
After 10 hours of music and memories that enriched the movement’s coffers by some $250,000, the event ended as it had begun—with a crowd-swaying, sing-along rendition of John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance. The spectacle left Bishop James Armstrong, president of the National Council of Churches, sounding like the president of a renascent Woodstock Nation: “The vibrations are beautiful,” he said.