The Complete, Unadulterated History Of Woodstock (2022)

By Marco Margaritoff | Checked By John Kuroski

Published July 11, 2019

Updated June 7, 2020

Fifty years ago this summer, half a million hippies, beatniks, and long-hairs descended upon upstate New York for the Woodstock music festival. The world would never be the same.

Max Yasgur probably never imagined that he would host at least 400,000 people on his 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. But for three straight days in August 1969, his bucolic pastures became a hub for sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll during Woodstock — the music festival that changed the world.

The Woodstock music festival is not only an icon of American musical history but of American history itself. In the last month of the last summer of the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of hopeful, optimistic young people came together and define their generation and their era as a whole.

But as iconic as this festival remains 50 years later, its story is widely misunderstood to this day. For starters, even though it’s known as the Woodstock festival, Yasgur’s dairy farm wasn’t even walking distance from the town of Woodstock — it was 43 miles away.

So how did the most famous music festival in history get misnomered? Who organized it, and what myths about that weekend were mere legend — and which were true?

This is the complete, true story of what unfolded in upstate New York during that historic weekend in August 1969.

Organizing Woodstock Music Festival

The Woodstock music festival was the brainchild of four men in their 20s looking for a viable business opportunity. Since musical innovation blossomed in the 1960s, they wanted to harness its popularity on a grand scale.

John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, and Michael Lang had an admirable collective résumé to make their attempt viable. Lang had already organized the Miami Music Festival in 1968, and successfully so. Kornfeld was Capitol Records’ youngest vice president ever, while Roberts and Rosenman were young entrepreneurs out of New York City.

The four young friends had a genuine appreciation for music; their music festival was more than a cynical attempt to cash in on popular music. To make the mission official, they formed Woodstock Ventures, Inc. The next step was finding talent to sign on.

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Wikimedia CommonsCreedence Clearwater Revival was the very first act to sign on, lending, well, credence to the Woodstock music festival.

When Creedence Clearwater Revival became the first act to agree to perform in April 1969, Woodstock Ventures landed all the credibility required to curate a respectable roster of contemporary artists. Though the line-up was growing into an impressively curated batch, securing the venue itself was becoming a problem.

The original plan was to hold the Woodstock festival at Howard Mills Industrial Park in Wallkill, New York, which the organizers leased for $10,000.

“The vibes weren’t right there. It was an industrial park,” Roberts later recounted. “I just said, ‘We gotta have a site now.'”

The prospect of having thousands of hippies at the height of the counterculture movement invade their little town, however, was too troubling for Wallkill officials. The town officially backed out on July 15 and even protected themselves legally by passing laws — including a portable toilet ban — that made it virtually unfeasible to host a festival there.

With the original venue off the table, Woodstock Ventures scrambled for an alternative — but none were compatible with their vision.

One month before the historic, three-day concert, the four young entrepreneurs found salvation in the form of a 49-year-old dairy farmer. Max Yasgur graciously allowed them to rent part of his property. The White Lake area in Bethel, surrounded by the Catskill Mountains, turned out to be exactly what they needed.

Problems Plague The Preparations

The history of Woodstock is riddled with chaotic problems and spontaneous solutions. Once the venue and talent were locked in, logistics became the primary concern. A music festival requires infrastructure, security, and regulation — and Woodstock struggled with all three.

In fact, essentials like ticket booths, gates, and fencing to cordon off the grounds were nowhere near completed when the masses began trickling in. Bathrooms, concession stands, and a pavilion for the professional performers were likewise utterly lacking before showtime.

Lang later explained that though it might’ve seemed like an oversight, the reasoning was that he and his colleagues felt that other elements — like food and quality entertainment — were more important to guarantee.

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Wikimedia CommonsAfter a grueling commute through jammed highways and setting up shop on Yasgur’s farm, concertgoers finally got to celebrate the first day of the 1969 Woodstock music festival on August 15.

“You do everything you can to get the gates and the fences finished — but you have your priorities,” he said. “People are coming, and you need to be able to feed them, and take care of them, and give them a show. So you have to prioritize.”

Their solution was both financially unwise and extremely heartfelt. There was no efficient way to charge attendees, so the four young businessmen decided to do the only thing they could: make Woodstock free.

They lost out on untold amounts of money, of course (which they made up for in part by producing an Oscar-winning documentary of the festival), but their festival has lingered in the minds of millions for half a century — something that arguably would never have happened if they stuck with the original attendee cap of 50,000 and delayed ticketing. But they ended up welcoming far, far more than 50,000 — and, in the process, made history.

The Woodstock Festival Begins

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Woodstock 1969 epitomized the anti-war peace and love movement.Three Lions/Getty Images

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Three of the estimated 400,000 people who attended the festival.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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Countless concertgoers took to the elements in order to freshen up and reinvigorate themselves before returning to the masses.Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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(Video) By The Numbers: Woodstock 1969

The festival almost didn't happen. After the town of Wallkill, New York lobbied against it, festival organizers scurried to find another venue. The helicopter here brought in supplies.Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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A crowd of people watching the Hog Farmers' free stage show.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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The Woodstock music festival had one of the most famously congested entryways in music festival history.Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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A naked man climbs the barrier to get a better view of the stage. Nudity was a normal occurrence at the festival.Archive Photos/Getty Images

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The massive crowd of fans assemble for a 4 p.m. jam session featuring Richie Havens.Paul DeMaria/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

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The Hog Farmers, who were asked to help organize the festival and provide security, stand by a decorated school bus near the Free Stage. The Free Stage served as a place for performers to jam and as an open mic for fans.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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The gracious and supportive Max and Miriam Yasgur on their land after the Woodstock music festival came to an end.Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images

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The festival was immortalized a year later by the Academy Award-winning documentary, Woodstock. Seen here is a still of naked concertgoers taking a load off.Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

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A mounted sheriff's deputy chases two fans who strayed from the venue onto private grounds. The scene was ultimately declared a disaster area.Bettmann/Getty Images

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Countless fans climbed rafters, sound towers, and anything that garnered them a better view of the performers. Images like this indicate just how freeform and haphazard festivals in the '60s were.Three Lions/Getty Images

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Three days of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll left thousands of fans like these two exhausted.Three Lions/Getty Images

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Many of the concertgoers were aspiring musicians themselves. Thousands of fans brought instruments and used the Free Stage, and festival in general, as an opportunity to jam and experiment.Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Mud, food shortages, and illness were part of the deal at Woodstock. Seen here is a young mother and her child, enduring the various challenges of the festival.Bettmann/Getty Images

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Over the course of Woodstock's three-day festivities, countless attendees dipped into the local lakes and rivers to freshen up. Skinny dipping was not only the norm — it was encouraged.Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Choose your path: test your stamina with uppers or downers (the high way), surround yourself with love (the groovy way), or opt for the most calming environment (the gentle path).Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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The Woodstock music festival of 1969 was unprecedented in scale. Attendance estimates range from 400,000 to 1 million people, who created a makeshift society for three days.Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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A sick fan is evacuated via helicopter from the festival to a local hospital. Several hundred people were evacuated like this, as the surrounding roads were so jammed that ground transportation wasn't an option.Bettmann/Getty Images

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Fans brought their own unique flair to the festival, including decorated buses, self-made clothing, and music of their own creation. Woodstock became as much of a creative art fair as it was a music festival.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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The huge nighttime crowd. Lights and fires are scattered across the hundreds of thousands of people, as festival performances went into the early morning hours.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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The convoy in and out of Woodstock's campgrounds was so congested that anyone with a vehicle generally helped transport people on foot. That included letting young attendees ride in people's trunks.Three Lions/Getty Images

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Woodstock had a makeshift infirmary where anyone in dire straits could go seek medical help.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Woodstock was famously flooded and thousands of people actively slid in the mud for fun. By the end, the campgrounds resembled a battlefield.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Some performers like Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, and Creedence Clearwater Revival played sets in the pitch-black darkness of night.Magnum Photos

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What better way to celebrate having made it to Woodstock than to pour oneself a well-deserved cup of champagne, like rock 'n' roll icon Janis Joplin.Magnum Photos

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All good things must come to an end: A fan smokes a cigarette, after three long days of peace, love, and music.Magnum Photos

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The official number isn't clear, but a minimum of 400,000 people attended Woodstock. Some even gauge attendance to be as high as a million.Magnum Photos

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Riding a bike to Yasgur's dairy farm was likely the smartest mode of transportation that weekend, as roads and highways were jammed with thousands of cars headed to the festival.Magnum Photos

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Not only did some attendees get their routine yoga sessions in while at Woodstock, yoga guru Satchidananda Saraswati even performed an unscheduled blessing for the crowd on the first day.Magnum Photos

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Food, water, and sanitation were in short supply at Woodstock. This pizza truck probably seemed like a mirage to some of the hungry concertgoers.Magnum Photos

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Without Max Yasgur's offer to rent his 600-acre dairy farm to Woodstock Ventures, the festival may never have happened.Magnum Photos

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Though images like these could indicate a serious sense of danger and recklessness, only two people died that weekend — out of more than 400,000 attendees.Magnum Photos

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Rain, flooding, and mud plagued much of the weekend that August, but the music, camaraderie, and substances at Woodstock elated most of the crowd.Magnum Photos

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Fans relax near the Free Stage.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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The road to Woodstock was famously jammed and backed up, yet hippies like these remained cheerful.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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The Merry Pranksters arrive at Woodstock with a school bus full of LSD.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Ken Babbs, one of the members of the Merry Pranksters commune, talks to a filmmaker interested in acid tests.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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A couple attending the Woodstock music festival smiles while standing outside the shelter they've built during the concert.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Another happy hippie couple at Woodstock.John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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Alan Wilson of Canned Heat performing onstage.Tucker Ranson/Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Removed from the crowds, a man enjoys his lunch on the hood of a school bus.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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Merry Prankster Ken Babbs hangs out and shakes hands at Woodstock. This would be the magic bus's last trip.Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images

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The Complete, Unadulterated History Of 1969’s Woodstock Music Festival

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Woodstock Ventures pre-sold more than 100,000 tickets, and by August 13, at least 50,000 people were already camped out on the Yasgur property. The final, official numbers of attendees vary greatly and range somewhere between 400,000 and one million people.

Though some had to be evacuated, floods ravaged the campgrounds, and two people lost their lives, the sheer pandemonium possible with such a mass of free-spirited people ultimately turned out to be far less anarchic than skeptics would've guessed.

"It was big. You knew it was a really momentous and special thing — and I was nervous. The fact that freeways were all clogged for 50 miles around was like, 'Wow, that's pretty unusual.' We were taken by helicopter and dropped at the Holiday Inn and allowed to sleep a little bit, and from there we were taken by helicopter, this shaky old World War II thing that I was also really nervous about; only two of us at a time could fit in it. We arrived in daylight and saw all these people and it was like, 'Oh my god...' Once I was on the ground and I looked around I was just nervous the whole time I was there, because with half a million people there were no rules." - John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, 2009."

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The lack of sanitation, food, and water was certainly an issue, but Woodstock was a famously peaceful affair. Though political assassinations and the Vietnam War were in the news, the young counterculture generation present at Woodstock was eager to bond, surround itself with music, and unite in peace.

"These people are really beautiful," said the festival's chief medical officer, Dr. William Abruzzi. "There has been no violence whatsoever, which is really remarkable for a crowd of this size."

The trailer for the 1970 documentary Woodstock.

Many attribute this impressive serenity to the ubiquitous use of psychedelics and the "make love, not war" mantra of the 1960s counterculture. It's no surprise that many attendees birthed children some nine months later.

The highways and streets leading into town were so jam-packed that traffic essentially came to a halt. Some people simply left their cars on the road and headed to camp on foot, while others partied in, on, or around their vehicles.

A little after 5 p.m. on August 15, 1969 — once hundreds of thousands of fans made it to the grounds and settled in — Woodstock finally began. It would become the most celebrated music festival in history.

"The Most Courteous, Considerate And Well-Behaved Group Of Kids"

The two fatalities at Woodstock were unfortunate accidents. One teenager was run over by a tractor by an unsuspecting driver who didn't notice a sleeping concertgoer in front of the vehicle. The other died of a drug overdose.

Two deaths in a group of at least 400,000 people, however, could almost be categorized as a success. The medical tent was staffed by volunteer doctors, EMTs, and nurses, though most incidents were minor and ranged from food poisoning and wounded bare feet to fatigue.

Rain, flooding, and mud reigns over the 1969 Woodstock music festival while fans remain cheerful.

It was reported, however, that eight women underwent miscarriages during the three-day festival. Woodstock's organizers also hired the California hippie commune the Hog Farm to establish a playground for the kids of concertgoers, as well as a free food kitchen and a tent for those who might've taken a few too many psychedelics to calm down.

Hog Farm leader Wavy Gravy would spray seltzer water and throw pies at people overstepping their boundaries.

"We're the hippie police," Gravy announced as he stepped off the plane four days before the festival began.

In terms of security, only about 12 law enforcement officers were in charge of policing an estimated half a million people.

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Wikimedia CommonsThere was virtually no police or infrastructure at Woodstock besides a few infirmary, food, and relaxation tents and areas. Yet concertgoers braved the elements for three days and caused no violence.

Nonetheless, the mob of hippies who took over the town made a remarkably positive impression on its citizenry, including the police.

"Notwithstanding their personality, their dress, and their ideas," said the head of Monticello Village Police Department near Wallkill, "they are the most courteous, considerate and well-behaved group of kids I have ever been in contact with in my 24 years of police work."

"When our police cars were getting stuck," another cop confessed, "they even helped us get them out. It was really amazing. I think a lot of police here are looking at their attitudes."

Of course, Woodstock would be nothing but a massive three-day summer camp without the actual music — and there were some legendary acts on stage over those three days in August. From promising local talent to globally-adored icons, the lineup was one to remember.

Musical Legends Take The Stage At Woodstock 1969

Thirty-two acts performed at Woodstock, many of them iconic, with an open mic on the Free Stage available to attendees ready to show their talent off to each other. The first day began on Friday, August 15 around 5 p.m. when Richie Havens took the stage. As he described it in 2009:

"I was supposed to be fifth on stage, and no one at the whole festival went on when they were supposed to. I came in on one of those glass bubble helicopters and saw Tim Hardin under the stage, sort of playing by himself. I knew he wasn't going on first. I didn't want to, either, but I had the least number of instruments, so...I thought, 'God, three hours late. They're gonna throw beer cans at me. They're gonna kill me.' Fortunately the reaction was 'Thank God somebody's finally going to do something.' They were happy.

I was supposed to sing for 40 minutes, which I did, and I walked off the stage and the people were great, and then (the organizers) said, 'Richie, four more songs?' 'OK.' I went back on and they were still clapping, so I sang four other songs, went off again, then I hear, 'Richie, four more songs?' They did that to me six times. Two hours and 45 minutes later I'd sung every song I know."

His two-hour set was followed by Indian spiritual master Satchidananda Saraswati performing an unscheduled blessing for the crowd. This was followed by sets from Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Melanie, and Arlo Guthrie.

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Wikimedia CommonsThe crowd celebrates Joe Cocker kicking off the second day of the 1969 Woodstock music festival around 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 16.

Joan Baez, who was six months pregnant, was the last act of the night. The venerated folk singer famously finished her set around 2 a.m. on August 16 as the pouring rain washed away the first day of the Woodstock music festival.

"It was a once in a lifetime thing for me. (Playing on the free stage) was a riot. Whoever was officially taking names and putting people in order didn't recognize me. I was just one of the lineup. I think I just gave my name as Joan. I went out on the stage and I'm not sure what I sang, but I remember this guy at the top of the hill, in the back...with no clothes on and flowers in his hair and a long beard. And he started to dance through the crowd toward the stage. So I just cut one of the songs so I could bow politely to him and leave before he made it to the stage and got up there with me." — Joan Baez, 2009.

"The whole thing is a gas," said one long-haired concertgoer nick-named Speed, according to The New York Times. "I dig it all, the mud, the rain, the music, the hassles."

The Second Day Dawns And The Crowd Grows

Though the first day's lineup was impressive, things got even more spectacular once the sun rose on the second day.

"It was like witnessing an ocean of hair, teeth, eyes, and hands. If you closed your eyes, you could forget the impact of seeing a moving ocean of flesh. Then you could just feel the sound, which had a different kind of reverberation when it bounced off the people and came back at you....I remember seeing Jerry Garcia; as soon as we landed, he was already playing his guitar on the hill with this beautiful, blissful smile on his face." — Carlos Santana, 2009.

Shortly after noon that Saturday, many musicians took the stage: Quill, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, John Sebastian, Keef Hartley Band, The Incredible String Band, Canned Heat, Mountain, The Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin and The Kozmic Blues Band, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane.

Jefferson Airplane performs 'White Rabbit' on the second day of the 1969 Woodstock music festival.

"When we left Los Angeles we flew all night to get to Woodstock. We had heard there were 200,000 people already there, which was amazing, and by the time we got there, everything had changed. It was no longer the 200,000; it was out of control as far as we could tell. We didn't know what to expect, but we went in a little helicopter, sort of hanging out on the pontoon of the helicopter. And backstage we were having a totally different experience than the audience. There was a lot of creature comforts — there was friends, there was food, there was good smoke, booze, whatever. We weren't experiencing the same environment that the rest of the people were.

Then when we got on stage, we didn't know there were 500,000 people there. It was pitch black. After the first few songs, we still weren't sure if there was anyone there; it was three in the morning and it was getting pretty quiet. People had had a fairly long day. And then some guy way the hell out there yells, 'We're with ya!,' and we were like, 'OK, well, that's the guy the concerts for,' and on we played. The next day we played for 5,000 people somewhere, and it started to dawn on us what we'd just been at, that we'd probably never see anything like that or experience an event like that again." — Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival, 2009.

The Final Day Of The 1969 Woodstock Music Festival

Day two ended at 9.45 a.m. on Sunday, August 17 — a little more than four hours before Joe Cocker kicked off day three. He was followed by Country Joe and The Fish; Ten Years After; The Band; Johnny Winter; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Sha Na Na; and Jimi Hendrix.

"It was kind of nerve-wracking for us. It was only our second show. Everybody we knew or cared about in the music industry was there. They were heroes to us — The Band and Hendrix and The Who...They were all standing behind us in a circle, like, 'OK, you're the new kids on the block. Show us...'" — David Crosby, 2009.

Santana performs 'Soul Sacrifice' on the second day of the 1969 Woodstock music festival.

All in all, those who performed at Woodstock in 1969 successfully enshrined themselves in music history. Those who attended as mere fans, too, have had a story to tell that only a fraction of the world can claim.

But there were a few other acts who declined to perform, and likely regretted that decision for the rest of their lives. Among them were Simon & Garfunkel, Joni Mitchell (who later wrote the song "Woodstock" to commemorate the historic gathering), Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Moody Blues, The Doors, Roy Rogers, John Lennon, Chicago Transit Authority, and The Rolling Stones.

For the latter, of course, the Altamont Speedway Free Festival that December would provide them with a similar opportunity. But that concert was famously plagued by stabbings, caused by a faction of the Hells Angels who worked security.

But regardless of Altamont or any other gathering, there was never anything like Woodstock before — or since. The times were different; one massive festival could become the focal point of an entire generation.

Jimi Hendrix performs 'The Star-Spangled Banner' on the final morning of the 1969 Woodstock festival.

And, fittingly, Woodstock's finale featured one of its most celebrated performers: Jimi Hendrix.

While Hendrix's set at Woodstock has arguably been the single most famous and widely viewed part of the festival in decades since, the fact that his set was delayed due to rain until Monday morning is a lesser-known part of his legendary appearance.

When Hendrix got to the stage at 9 a.m. on Monday morning, there were only about 30,000 people left in the audience. The festival had only been scheduled to last until Sunday night, and many people had to get back to their lives.

Concertgoers depart the 1969 Woodstock festival to return to their lives after three days of music, peace, and love.

But leaving Bethel, New York wasn't as easy as people thought. With the same traffic issues that confronted attendees during their commute in, the same highways and roads clogged up and jammed in a matter of minutes.

For Yasgur and the four young festival organizers, of course, the event was far from over. A monumental cleanup session awaited — one which took days, cost tens of thousands of dollars, and required bulldozers to complete.

Woodstock Ever After

This world-renowned, historically significant, massive, three-day pinnacle of 1960s counterculture momentum would never have happened if it weren't for Max Yasgur and his supportive wife, Miriam. For him, it was all worth it — and instilled in him a sense of optimism about the young generation he'd welcomed onto his farm.

"You've proven something to the world," he told the audience on the last day. "That a half a million kids, and I call you kids because I have children who are older than you are, a half a million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music. And God bless you for it!"

Of course, The New York Times begged to differ in its coverage following the festival. The editorial section called the three-day event "an outrageous episode," and asked, "What kind of culture it is that can produce so colossal a mess?"

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Wikimedia CommonsMax Yasgur told the massive crowd on his property that they proved to the world that their generation could come together in droves to celebrate and not cause the kind of mayhem that older generations anticipated.

And now, 50 years later, a "mess" is hardly the legacy of Woodstock. Instead, it's a historic, watershed moment that represents the zenith of a particular culture and captures a specific moment of time that will never be replicated in quite that way ever again.

Today, after a half-century, you can go up on a hill at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and stand on the hallowed ground where the 1969 Woodstock festival took place. The center opened in 2006 with an outdoor concert venue and a 1960s museum.

(Video) Remembering Woodstock music festival, 50 years on

Some of the acts who performed at the Woodstock 1969 have returned to play shows in the decades since. Some died before they got the chance. Generations have come and gone since that one magnificent weekend in the summer of 1969.

For most of us, it's always been mere legend — one we couldn't see, touch, or be a part of. But for a few hundred thousand lucky people, it was the greatest moment of their lives — a moment that left a mark on history that remains as indelible as ever 50 years later.

After exploring the 1969 Woodstock music festival, learn everything there is to know about hippies and the Summer of Love.


Was it wet at Woodstock? ›

To see the epic performances at Woodstock, attendees endured crowds, rain, minimal food and water—and lots of mud. The Woodstock Festival, held in August 1969, was a watershed moment in the 1960s counterculture movement.

What was the biggest problem at Woodstock? ›

In the scramble, the organizers couldn't get everything ready in time. When the festival-goers poured in, there weren't enough toilets or medical facilities, and there certainly wasn't enough food or water. To top it off, the festival grounds were hot, humid, rainy and muddy.

What was the point of Woodstock? ›

Woodstock was an opportunity for people to escape into music and spread a message of unity and peace. Although the crowd at Woodstock experienced bad weather, muddy conditions and a lack of food, water and adequate sanitation, the overall vibe there was harmonious.

How much money was lost at Woodstock? ›

Before Woodstock was a cultural phenomenon, it was a financial fiasco. Organizers behind the legendary music festival in upstate New York, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer, said they wound up $1.3 million in debt after the historic 1969 event—roughly $9 million in today's dollars.

Where did they go to the bathroom at Woodstock? ›

It turns out that there were only 600 toilets available for the estimated 500,000 people who attended the festival on August 15-17, 1969, at Max Yasgur's farm in upstate New York.

How many babies were born at Woodstock? ›

As many as three babies were said to have been born at Woodstock. Singer John Sebastian, who says he was tripping during his performance, told the crowd, “That kid is going to be far out.”

What did Woodstock smell like? ›

First and foremost, Woodstock smelled like damp soil, mud, cigarettes, weed, patchouli (the head-shoppy sort) and unwashed bodies. Cheapest booze with a bang was on everyone's breath; fruity fortified wines, hoppy beers.

Was Woodstock actually peaceful? ›

Woodstock was advertised as being "three days of peace and music," and to a large extent, the festival did remain peaceful to the end. But not everything went according to plan. The three-day open air concert had originally been planned to be held near Bob Dylan's residence, in the New York town of Woodstock.

Who was the last performer at Woodstock? ›

Who was the last performer at Woodstock? Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was brought on to headline and close out the festival on Sunday night. With many delays, Hendrix had two options: play the prime spot on Sunday night but give up being the finale, or wait to close out the show and play to a smaller crowd.

Why is it called Woodstock? ›

The festival had a couple different names: Bethel Rock Festival, the Aquarian Music Festival, but the name Woodstock came from the town of Woodstock, New York, where there was a community of artists and musicians who lived there—artists like Bob Dylan.

How Woodstock changed the world? ›

Woodstock impacted United States culture by giving a voice to the often overlooked community of hippies and legitimizing the anti-war sentiment they were experiencing. In short, hippies symbolize counterculture; so much so that the two words are almost synonymous.

Is Woodstock still a thing 2022? ›

The City of Woodstock has announced the lineup for the 2022 Woodstock Summer Concert Series taking place in the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater from May to September. On Saturday, May 14th, the 2022 Season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series begins with Marshall Charloff & Purple Xperience.

Who paid to clean up after Woodstock? ›

The original promoters paid $50,000 just to clean up Yasgur's farm after the festival. And most of Woodstock's current 7,000 residents aren't eager to see how much clean-up would cost if it were held today.

Was there a baby born at Woodstock? ›

That's right: There were no babies born at Woodstock. That's right: There were no babies born at Woodstock. In the late 1980s, during the research for my book, Woodstock: The Oral History, I searched everywhere, and talked to everyone else who searched. I checked hospital records, birth certificates and news accounts.

How much was a Woodstock ticket in 1969? ›

$18 – The price of an advance ticket

The tickets weren't free – advance tickets cost $18 if bought from record stores in the New York City area, or via a post office box. That's slightly more than $125 (£100) in 2019 money.

Who was the youngest person at Woodstock? ›

Henry Gross was the youngest performer at Woodstock, though others believe it was a member of Santana: "Everybody thought it was Michael Shrieve, who played with Santana because he looked like he was about 10 years old at that time. But he was actually a couple of years older than me. You know.

Did Woodstock make money? ›

Tickets were sold for about $150 plus service charges, per The Washington Post. With more than 400,000 attendees, that is well over $60 million that the festival raked in with ticket sales alone. This content is imported from poll.

Did Woodstock 99 have showers? ›

The Showers Were Horrifying

One thing Trainwreck: Woodstock '99 glossed over was the terrible condition of the showers–if you could even call them that.

Who got paid the least at Woodstock? ›

The full list is below:
  • Jimi Hendrix – $18,000.
  • Blood, Sweat and Tears – $15,000.
  • Joan Baez – $10,000.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – $10,000.
  • The Band – $7,500.
  • Janis Joplin – $7,500.
  • Jefferson Airplane – $7,500.
  • Sly and the Family Stone – $7,000.
21 Apr 2019

How much did Janis Joplin make at Woodstock? ›

Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane got $7,500 each. Sly and the Family Stone got $7,000 and The Who got $6,250. Folk icon Arlo Guthrie and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young earned $5,000 each.

What perfume was popular in the 60s? ›

Popular Women's Fragrances From the 1960s
  • Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.
  • Tuvache Oh! de London.
  • Rochas Femme.
  • Piguet Fracas.
  • Dana Tabu.
  • Faberge Tigress.
  • Prince Matchabelli Wind Song.
  • Hermes Caleche.

How many people were really at Woodstock? ›

Attendance estimates vary, but it's believed at least 400,000 music lovers attended Woodstock. Woodstock didn't actually happen in Woodstock, but on a farm in Bethel, New York, about an hour outside of the town of Woodstock.

What was the most iconic Woodstock? ›

'The Star-Spangled Banner' by Jimi Hendrix

Arguably the most iconic moment of the entire Woodstock festival was when psychedelic guitar rocker Jimi Hendrix's played his legendary rendition of the United States National Anthem. Hendrix's performance was one of the last songs on stage at Woodstock.

What band did not play at Woodstock? ›

Jethro Tull declined an invitation to play Woodstock in 1969. Singer Ian Anderson explained the decision in a Q&A with, saying, "The reason I didn't want to play Woodstock is because I asked our manager, Terry Ellis, 'Well, who else is going to be there?'

Did Eric Clapton play at Woodstock? ›

Eric Clapton

One of rock's greatest guitarists was a man without a band at the time of Woodstock, with the Yardbirds and Cream — two bands he helped embed into rock and roll folklore — disbanded.

Who was the best performer at Woodstock? ›

1. Jimi Hendrix. Without question, the greatest performance of the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair was the final performance of them all—Jimi Hendrix.

How much did it rain at Woodstock? ›

On Sunday, just shortly after Joe Cocker finished his performance, a large thunderstorm swept across White Lake and Bethel, dumping over 25mm (1 inch) of rain near the venue.

When did it rain during Woodstock? ›

On July 29, the town of Liberty, about 10 miles to the northeast, measured 4.33 inches of rain, the most ever recorded there on a single day in July. Because of the rain, Woodstock workers were unable to complete construction of a fence designed to ensure that only ticketholders were allowed access close to the stage.

What was the temperature at Woodstock 1999? ›

Many issues at Woodstock '99 were blamed on the heat: Temperatures neared 100 degrees (and felt as hot as 118 on the tarmac) and bottles of water were sold for $4, leaving little relief for fans who paid $150 (or more) for tickets to a very commercialized event covered by MTV with live, uncensored pay-per-view.

When was the storm at Woodstock? ›

August 16, 1969 | National Museum of American History.

How did people sleep at Woodstock? ›

As we lay there, trying to sleep, a constant, never-ending stream of people moved back and forth. All night long, without cease, their feet sloshed and stomped and slammed a few inches from our heads. Some of these passers-by were chemically disoriented.

How many Woodstock performers are still alive? ›

Only two Band members survive. Singer/guitarist Robertson, 76, has enjoyed a multifaceted solo career as a recording artist, film composer and author.

Why was Woodstock so muddy? ›

Though it was hot as blazes as many festival-goers were arriving on Friday (or attempting to make progress on the Thruway), the event was plagued by sporadic rainfall. On Sunday, in particular, the skies opened up and the attendees, who were generally damp the whole time, got soaked.

Did Woodstock 1969 have bottled water? ›

The price of water and food was notoriously high at the 30 year anniversary Woodstock. It cost $4 for a bottle of water and $12 for a personal pizza.

How did Woodstock get its name? ›

The festival had a couple different names: Bethel Rock Festival, the Aquarian Music Festival, but the name Woodstock came from the town of Woodstock, New York, where there was a community of artists and musicians who lived there—artists like Bob Dylan.

What happened at the last Woodstock? ›

Woodstock 1999 began promising three days of “peace, love and music.” It ended with stages in flames, sound towers reduced to smithereens, tents razed to the ground, the press and performers running like hell, promoters barricaded in their offices, and thousands of hungover and exhausted young hooligans wallowing in a ...

How did they clean up Woodstock 99? ›

Through and through, Woodstock '99 was a sanitation disaster. Insider reports that large barrels of water that were originally intended for drinking were placed across festival grounds, but they became makeshift baths as people started using them to clean their bodies off.

How much did Woodstock 99 tickets cost? ›

Tickets purchased at the gate cost $180. There were about 400,000 attendees. A total of 186,983 tickets were sold according to reports shortly after the festival, which "translates into a gross take of $28,864,748" at the time. Ticket sales were advertised as being capped at 250,000, the capacity of the venue.

Is Woodstock still a thing 2022? ›

The City of Woodstock has announced the lineup for the 2022 Woodstock Summer Concert Series taking place in the Northside Hospital-Cherokee Amphitheater from May to September. On Saturday, May 14th, the 2022 Season of the Woodstock Summer Concert Series begins with Marshall Charloff & Purple Xperience.

What happened to Woodstock attendees? ›

There were births claimed to have occurred among Woodstock attendees, one in a car caught in traffic and another in a hospital after an airlift by helicopter.
Performing artists.
Ten Years After8:15 pm – 9:15 pm
The Band10:00 pm – 10:50 pmCalled back for an encore.
8 more rows

Did it rain during Woodstock 99? ›

It was a rain-soaked festival that culminated in a good-natured mud fight between the crowd and the East Bay punk rockers Green Day. The success of Woodstock '94 inspired the festival creators to do it all again five years later — with some of the biggest acts of the late 90s.

Was Woodstock 24 hours a day? ›

The Woodstock Festival (a.k.a. An Aquarian Exposition: Three Days of Peace and Music, was a three-day concert (which managed to roll into a fourth day) that took place on August 15 through 18, 1969, at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in the town of Bethel just outside White Lake, New York.


1. Woodstock Co-Creator Michael Lang Dies At 77
2. Trailer | Woodstock: Three Days that Defined a Generation | American Experience | PBS
(American Experience | PBS)
3. Woodstock 40 years on: Michael Lang on the world's most famous music festival
(Guardian Music)
4. Woodstock 1969: The Music
5. Design a Psychedelic Zine with Shanti Sparrow - 1 of 2
(Adobe Creative Cloud)
6. Design a Psychedelic Zine with Shanti Sparrow - 2 of 2
(Adobe Creative Cloud)

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