Monday, August 15, 2011

Woodstock, August 15-18, 1969

Today marks the 42nd Anniversary of Woodstock. Billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music", it was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskills near the hamlet of White Lake in the town of Bethel, New York. It is widely regarded as one of the most pivotal moments in popular music history.

Originally, Woodstock was designed as a profit-making venture, aptly titled "Woodstock Ventures". It famously became a "free concert" only after it became obvious that the event was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of an estimated 500,000 concert-goers.

List of Performing Artists:

Friday, August 15

Richie Havens
Swami Satchidananda – gave the invocation for the festival
Bert Sommer
Ravi Shankar
Tim Hardin
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez

Saturday, August 16

Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Keef Hartley Band
The Incredible String Band
Canned Heat
Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band
Sly & the Family Stone
The Who
Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18

The Grease Band
Joe Cocker
Country Joe and the Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Jimi Hendrix

Although the festival was remarkably peaceful given the number of people and the conditions involved, there were two recorded fatalities: one from what was believed to be a heroin overdose and another caused in an accident when a tractor ran over an attendee sleeping in a nearby hayfield. There also were two births recorded at the event (one in a car caught in traffic and another in a hospital after an airlift by helicopter) and four miscarriages. Yet, in tune with the idealistic hopes of the 1960s, Woodstock satisfied most attendees. There was a sense of social harmony, which, with the quality of music, and the overwhelming mass of people, many sporting bohemian dress, behavior, and attitudes helped to make it one of the enduring events of the century.

John Fogerty regarding Creedence Clearwater Revival's 3 a.m. start time at Woodstock: "We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn ... there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud. And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: a quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, 'Don't worry about it John. We're with you.' I played the rest of the show for that guy."

After the concert, Max Yasgur, who owned the site of the event, saw it as a victory of peace and love. He spoke of how nearly half a million people filled with possibilities of disaster, riot, looting, and catastrophe spent the three days with music and peace on their minds. He states that "if we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future..." Source - Wikipedia

For more information, visit

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music, and A Bit Of Groovy.

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