50 Years On, The Woodstock VW Bus Has Been Recreated By Its Original Artist
It’s the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival in August 2019, and there’s no vehicle that represents the festival’s hippy movement more than the Volkswagen Type 2 Light Van or bus–especially this one, known as “Light”. It was painted by artist Dr Bob Hieronimus, which became a symbol of the peace and love message. In fact, the bus you see here is a replica, after a long but fruitless search for the original vehicle. Instead, a Kickstarter campaign raised enough money for Hieronimus and Canadian documentarian John Wesley Chisholm to buy an identical model bus, restore it and to undertake a six-week process by Hieronimus and a team of five artists to recreate the original paintings.
Volkswagen of America learnt of the project and assisted the team, with the result that the recreation will be unveiled by Dr Hieronimus at the Orange Country Transporter Organization (O.C.T.O.) Winter Meet in Long Beach, California on Saturday, February 16 at Long Beach Veteran’s Memorial Stadium. It will then go on to a cross-country tour leading up to the music festival’s 50th anniversary. “The bus is really about being one people on one planet,” says Hieronimus. “On every side of the bus is a story—many stories—and the stories all point to unification, working together and a higher conscientiousness, which is what Light really is all about.”
Hieronimus painted the original 1963 Standard Microbus in 1968, following an invitation from the van’s owner for “a magic bus” to use to take his band to first ever the Woodstock Art and Music Fair. A photograph of the bus by the Associated Press was published in newspapers and magazines across the USA, and the bus even appeared in the liner of the official Woodstock album. Volkswagen Type 2 had already been a counter-culture favorite but the Hieronimus-painted bus came to symbolize psychedelia, the peace movement and an important segment of American culture. Maybe the recreation will do the same. Peace.
Images courtesy of Volkswagen America