Woodstock was a music festival held August 15–18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000. Billed as “an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”, it was held at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Woodstock. It was alternatively referred to as the Bethel Rock Festival or the Aquarian Music Festival. Thirty-two acts performed outdoors despite sporadic rain. It has become widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as the definitive nexus for the larger counterculture generation.
The event’s significance was reinforced by a 1970 Academy Award–winning documentary film, an accompanying soundtrack album, and a Joni Mitchell–written song that became a major hit for both Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Matthews Southern Comfort.
Starting in 1979, music events bearing the Woodstock name have been planned for major anniversaries including the tenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, thirtieth, fortieth, and fiftieth. In 2004, Rolling Stone listed it as number 19 of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll. In 2017, the festival site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Jimi Hendrix was the last act to perform at the festival. Because of the rain delays that Sunday, when Hendrix finally took the stage it was 8:30 Monday morning. The audience, which had peaked at an estimated 400,000 during the festival, was now reduced to about 30,000 by that point; many of them merely waited to catch a glimpse of Hendrix before leaving during his performance
As one of the biggest rock festivals of all time and a cultural touchstone for the late 1960s, Woodstock has been referenced in many different ways in popular culture. The phrase “the Woodstock generation” became part of the common lexicon. Tributes and parodies of the festival began almost as soon as the final chords sounded. Cartoonist Charles Schulz named his recurring Peanuts bird character – which began appearing in 1966 but was still unnamed – Woodstock in tribute to the festival.
watched 1970 woodstock doc a while back
notes/quotes from doc (3 days that defined a decade):
it looked like a pilgrimage..
we were looking for answers (nam et al) .. we were looking for other people that felt the same way as we did
my feeling was.. this is what we’ve been talking about.. aiming for.. this kind of freedom
if 400 000 people could get together and have absolutely no violence/conflict.. i felt like if we could bring all that love back into society.. we could change the world
starts 3 years earlier – about john inheriting 1/4 million and meeting up with joel.. then michael movie to woodstook and being intro’d to arty.. together they put recording studio in woodstock.. were going to promo opening w concert.. then decided to skip the studio and focus on the concert
10 min – we wanted to make it like if you were visiting another world.. a world you were dreaming about if you were a young person.. the shining place that you could go to and feel that you weren’t a misfit.. or that you weren’t on the wrong side of a debate or that you weren’t under the suspicious eye of the authorities
lat 60s.. everything was up for grabs.. young people were rejecting the status quo.. whether your parents/community/business-establishment.. this counterculture as it was called.. influenced music/art.. the way people dressed.. but clearly politics was at the center of the counterculture.. because the one thing that affected everybody was nam
13 min – the men of ww2 just assumed their sons would also be soldiers.. that’s how you became a man.. grew up, served country.. if dropped out of college.. going to nam
14 min – not alone in.. being personally afraid of war.. to being politically opposed to it
the war was insane.. it made everybody crazy.. whether fighting for/against it
and then on top of everything else.. mlk assassinated
a lot of people felt (when king was killed) .. we have to do things differently.. because way establishment have done things .. has led to things
objecting to racism, poverty, ineq, ..nam..
16 min – we had hope for bobby kennedy.. he seemed to be one of us.. he was our voice.. then assassinated
it was like.. oh.. this is what we do.. as soon as someone tries to speak out and they’re too forceful.. this big machine, whatever the hell it is, is gonna shut them up
18 min – the only thing we took solace in was music.. and there was a lot of politically conscious music: buffalo springfield (something happening here.. stop children what’s that sound); dylan (times they are changin); janis jojplin; jefferson airplane; the dead; ..
19 min – music and lyrics became our tribal drum.. so we had a private communication going.. a wild liberation.. drugs played a big part in that
20 min – the more that we as a generation saw that what had been rammed down our throats was false.. it was false.. it was a lie.. the more it freed us up to experiment
21 min – by 69 it really did feel like we were winning some kind of cultural war against the establishment.. we were seeing that america wasn’t what we were taught it was and when you stop looking at it that way and you start trying to figure it out for yourself.. then.. it changes your life forever
26 min – tickets were $6 a day.. $18 all 3
29 min – had to change venues 6 weeks prior
33 min – on figuring out how to make it work w so many people.. in ny kept insisting on security system for safety.. i told john.. all the cops in the world weren’t going to prevent violence.. it had to depend upon building the kind of expectation and the feeling of this event we’re gonna have so that people didn’t want to hurt each other
36 min – hire hog farm family as security
39 min – people started showing up a week before the festival.. fence wasn’t up yet..
41 min – had to pick between gates/fences or stage..
42 min – traffic piled up for miles.. small town folks just welcomed us
45 min – day 1
47 min – it was like meeting your brothers and sisters
48 min – as a business venture it was dead.. and i don’t know why but sort of a curious calm overcame us and it seemed like the gates just weren’t really what was important here anymore
it’s a free concert from now on.. that doesn’t mean that anything goes.. what that means is, we’re gonna put the music up here for free.. wheat it means is that the people who are backing this thing who put up the money for it, are gonna take a bit of a bath.. a big bath.. that’s no hype that’s truth. they’re gonna get hurt.. but what it means is that these people have it in their heads that your welfare is a hell of a lot more important and the music is.. than the dollar (standing ovation)
49 min – despite it’s roots in trying to be a capitalist enterprise the concert was liberated
bands couldn’t get there because of traffic.. first guy (richie havens) to sing was supposed to sing till later.. and he had to sing forever.. sang all his songs.. then made one up – freedom.. then helicopter rotation started working.. and started flying people in
we just began handing out hamburgers and people began to shower us with joints
55 min – joan baez ends first night in a drizzle
find yourself a place to sleep and say night to your neighbor and thank you to yourself for making this the most peaceful/pleasant day anybody’s ever had with this kind of music
first day.. aug 16.. folk day.. 250-300 000.. 2nd day.. rock n roll day.. that’s when everyone showed up.. they wanted to see the who, airplane, the dead,.. so crowd grew by about 100 000
lot of skinny dipping.. path in woods.. lot of diff shops set up.. selling musical stuff.. & things like beads and crafts they’d made.. candles.. hand tie dyed clothing.. blown glass pipes.. one table was just selling pot
there was so much happening.. that was almost as interesting as just seeing the music
hog farm set up (they had been living like this for a while).. couple hundred.. teepees.. bunch of painted buses.. they had built a small stage.. music there as well.. away from concert.. hog farm was kind of a center of gravity for the festival
reminds me of vision to bring in expert permaculture/unschoolers.. just to model free ness alongside
1:01 – hog farm turned out to be an interesting choice for security.. they didn’t call themselves a police force.. they called themselves a ‘please force’.. they substituted ‘hey.. you do this’ with ‘would you please do this’.. or .. ‘would it be alright with you if..’ .. they gave a nice flavor to the festival.. cost $18 000 for jet to get them there.. but not paid.. did it just because they wanted to be there.. they felt they could be useful.. really nice people
we were 400 000 kids on the hillside who were vehemently against the war.. ‘these are our people.. we found our people’
santana woke me up ‘soul sacrifice’ which most of us had never heard before.. from civilization to some place there were no rules..
there were a lot of people who took a lot of drugs.. the freak out tents were oases.. via wavy gravy and the hog farm.. guiding them thru it
1:05 – med problems – and emergency situation was developing.. out of med supplies.. rockefeller (governor at the time) considered sending in the national guard.. they were stupid enough to think they could mobilize national guard and get these kids out.. easiest way was to let it run thru.. looked like pics from nam – military helicopters flying in
1:08 – us military lent us some med teams.. 45 drs w/o pay.. – via sound system.. only source of communication we had.. people would bring messages to back stage.. ie: wife having baby.. person w your med bag.. had a message board.. stage announcements became our news radio.. outside thought it was an utter disaster .. from what they were seeing in the news..
world expects this to explode.. nothing kids like better than to disappoint what the world thinks they’re going to do
1:11 – we ran out of food.. delivery trucks could not get thru.. beyond ie: sanitation/med crisis.. then something incredible .. locals contributed all food they had.. ‘kids are hungry.. got to feed them’.. ie: 100s of 1000s of hard boiled eggs.. ‘maybe we were hicks.. but we did welcome strangers’
1:13 – hog farms set up huge kitchen (w all donated food).. and it was fabulous.. taking care of each other.. sharing food et al.. we passed everything around.. it was like the loaves and fishes..’it just had this feeling like this was ours.. the new/alt city.. and it worked’
1:16 – sat night was super.. gave us second wind.. felt we knew what we were doing.. yet no way you couldn’t get oversaturated w the stimulus – middle of night.. everyone up dancing.. pulsing hillside
1:17 – ‘talkin about my generation’.. still playing as the dawn came on
sunday.. 6am starts.. while lot of people still asleep
1:20 – max yasgur comes on stage – (his land) – i’m a farmer.. don’t know how to speak to 20 people at a time.. let alone a crowd like this.. but i think you people have proven something to the world.. not only to bethel or ny: 1/2 million kids can get together and have 3 days of fun/music and have nothing but fun/music.. and i god bless you for it
1:21 – it was an affirmation.. instead of being angry.. that he was that positive about us.. and i’m sure that his fields were just destroyed.. but if a conservative upstate new york farmer could feel that way, well, that was pretty cool.. i realized in that moment.. not only was woodstock bigger than we could have imagined.. it was symbolically bigger..
1:23 – afternoon – joe cocker – ‘i get by w a little help from my friends..’
450 000 friends
then rain came – everyone screamed for those on light stands (to see better) to come down..
there was a feel of a tornado.. we could have had a mass electrocution w all the equipment
people started playing in the mud like children.. 6 yr old..
1:26 – after rain .. crowd really thinned out.. a lot had to work next day
after storm.. site was a mess.. but show went on.. esp crosby steels and nash.. first time singing together.. no one had heard them harmonize ‘it’s getting to the point’..
‘there were points cs&n was so mesmerizing.. the feeling of oneness’
1:28 – monday – hendrix.. national anthem – made guitar sounds like bombs et al
1:29 – most peaceful gathering happening on the planet.. and he (hendrix) hooked us up w nam.. indescribably essence.. this is the essence of life he had and he gave it to us.. everybody was so still.. his guitar ringing out.. and then suddenly.. it was all over
1:31 – the site looked like civil war pics.. i was terrified i might find somebody dead.. so i walked entire site.. and it stank.. but nobody injured/dead.. and then we started the clean up.. ie: soggy sleeping bags/tents.. a lot of people helping..
1:33 – didn’t want to leave we kind of sensed we could change world for 3 days.. but rest of world not with us.. so would be shock going back to society..
the festival became a symbol of intelligence and humanity and cooperation and love and affection.. it was a start of a phenom change in a lot of people’s lives
max (owner of land) ‘when we were approaching 1/2 million fri/sat night .. i was apprehensive.. and.. these young people made me feel guilty today.. because there were no problems.. they proved to me and the whole world that they didn’t come up for any problems.. they came up for exactly what they said they were coming up for.. for 3 days of music and peace’..t
it was a mark in cosmic time.. that stopped the clock for 3 days – daye
i felt like i had finally gotten to fully experience what i was hoping the counterculture meant .. woodstock was a very powerful confirmation that yeah.. this is what you’re looking for and that you’re headed in the right direction – george
everyone looking after one another.. caring about one another.. once i experienced that.. i made it the basis of the whole rest of my life – starobin – attendee..t
in woodstock we tried to let the audience know in every way that we could .. that we believed in them.. that inside them was a loving nature.. a decency.. and a fineness of spirit.. you can forget it sometimes.. but very few of us want to be other than that.. you just need the opportunity – rosenman (organizer) ..t
assume good ness.. i’d say none of us want other than that if we go/uncover deep enough
TIME (@TIME) tweeted at 6:30 AM – 18 Aug 2019 :
Meet the couple in the famous Woodstock album-cover photo. They’re still together 50 years later https://t.co/2buZNsTHR1(http://twitter.com/TIME/status/1163065537754214401?s=17)
John Hagel (@jhagel) tweeted at 6:35 AM – 19 Aug 2019 :
The legacy of hippie Woodstock is the modern music-festival economy: materialist, driven by celebrities and social media, and increasingly urban https://t.co/sAfcYi123r (http://twitter.com/jhagel/status/1163429383203196929?s=17)
The tragic Altamont Free Concert in the winter of 1969, which featured the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana, broke out in violence and saw several deaths (partly a result of having the Hells Angels provide “security”).