Some people think that they should have been born during a different period of time. Some people admire the culture of the ‘60s so much that they would prefer to be alive back then instead of today. They love it for the fashion, the music, and the way of life of the hippies. We are sure that the same people dream of nothing more than to score a ticket to Woodstock. It has been half a century since the iconic concert came to an end, but its legacy has never been forgotten. After all, the cultural landmark captured the free-spiritedness of the youth from that era. Almost 400,000 people from different parts of the country gathered to celebrate love, peace, music, and freedom on August 15, 1969. These photos will surely make you wish you had been there! Without a doubt, it was truly a very different time.
Those who went to the festival must have seen fellow attendees in the weirdest places and positions. It was an outdoor festival, which meant that they all had to camp out. If you were not a big fan of camping, you had no other choice but to look for alternatives. Luckily for the guy in the photo, he found the ideal napping spot between two cars! We do not think it was the safest idea, but it does not look like he gave a darn. Props to him for that. He probably knew that those cars would remain in place, so he could simply sit back and relax. From the look of things, he had been right about that.
The Challenge Of Getting There
Woodstock would not have happened if the attendees could not go to the venue. Tens of thousands of people went to a small town in New York called Bethel. The roads looked like big parking lots on that weekend. A lot of people ended up walking to the venue since the roads were closed off. Not only that, but some of them could not reach the road at all. On stage, Arlo Guthrie announced, “The New York State Thruway is closed, man.” The truth was that it was open the entire time! However, the state police closed the Harriman and Newburgh exits to stop other people from clogging up the roads.
The Legendary Jimi Hendrix
On the third day, Jimi Hendrix finally appeared on the stage. The attendees got to watch his amazing version of the Star-Spangled Banner, which has been associated with the festival since then. He delivered a performance with a temporary crew since his usual band broke up before Woodstock. He needed to find a band, how he wound up playing with the Gypsy Suns and Rainbows. A lot of people had been delighted to hear this combination. It was the first time they collaborated!
Janis Joplin Stayed
Many legendary musicians got to perform at Woodstock. Janis Joplin is another good example. She was paid $7,500 for the set. She delivered “Piece of My Heart,” which remains vivid in the minds of those who went. Apart from this, she sang other songs during the second day of the festival. The whole band was flown in by helicopter. The other members said that she asked them to perform as if it were just another gig. After their set, she stayed at the festival with the rest of the festivalgoers.
A Surprise John Sebastian Set
In the ‘60s, there was a four-member rock band making waves. Called the Lovin’ Spoonful, the band is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. John Sebastian, the founder, was not scheduled to deliver a set at Woodstock. He was there as an attendee! It was a good thing that he did not mind playing when asked to do so. To his fan’s delight, he played his acoustic guitar and even performed three unreleased songs!
Bigger Than They Thought
It was probably not easy to find a venue for the festival that would fit many people. Originally, the plan was to hold it in Woodstock. It was a summer arts colony that was a favorite venue for a lot of musicians. When this fell through, they looked into Wallkill, New York instead. After the locals found out just how big of an event it would be, they objected to the plan. Organizers then moved it to a slice of farmland in Bethel. Despite their hard work, they were caught off-guard by the number of people who went. They had 50,000 visitors in mind, but 400,000 concertgoers came. In fact, Governor Rockefeller thought about sending in the National Guard to manage the crowd. Sullivan County also declared a state of emergency!
No Place For Discrimination
Woodstock was not a place that tolerated discrimination. Anyone could go no matter their age, gender, and race. There were even parents who brought their kids with them! Take a look at the little one in this photo. She looks thrilled to be at the festival. How cute is that? Unfortunately, it was not exactly a smooth ride for all families. Some women suffered miscarriages during the course of that weekend.
Sri Swami Satchidananda’s Speech
A famous spiritual master named Sri Swami Satchidananda delivered a great speech at the start of the festival. 400,000 people were listening to him talk about energy and the power of sound. He explained that they govern the cosmos and were the strongest things out there. During the festival, he sat on a bedspread surrounded by mics. A photo of him talking on the stage in front of the crowd has gone around in the past.
The Place To Be
Daisies, hippiedom, and tie-dye clothes are all things associated with Woodstock. It is not hard to see why it was considered such a big cultural event of the decade. This was the place to be! The youth wanted to be free, enjoy great music, and spend time with friends and lovers. Don’t you feel jealous of them? Things are going right now, which sounds like a great way to spend a weekend.
Buses And Caravans Aplenty
There were a lot of buses and caravans on the festival grounds that weekend. The festivalgoers used them as a way to escape their realities. Some people wanted to catch some privacy in there as well. You will find a lot of photos showing people casually lying inside and on top of vehicles. There were also folks hanging out on top of buses. It looked like every single spot was a great place to sit back and unwind.
There were a lot of makeshift shops on the festival grounds as well. People sold crafts, clothes, and drug paraphernalia. It boosted the aural and visual fest that particular weekend. As we all know, this also happens at concerts and music festivals of today. Those who did not bring extra clothes did not have anything to worry about. On the day itself, a lot of attendees donned tie-dye shirts that they got from the shops.
Odd Sleeping Arrangements
The music was not the only draw of the music festival. There were a lot of people to interact with. On top of that, the abundance of psychedelic drugs attracted a lot of people. We can see why the visitors all got tired! They took to the car hoods, but others took it to the next level. Check out this guy, who ended up napping atop a motorcycle! It must have been fun to look at all the people sleeping in strange places.
Choose Your Own Adventure
If you ask us, both the “Gentle Path High Way” and “Groovy Way” are appealing. The first one brings images of the countryside to mind. On the other hand, the latter makes us think of bell-bottom jeans and afros. There was something for everyone! Which would you have preferred to explore? It is not an issue at all since you could go to both of them at Woodstock. There was no rule that you can’t do both!
The Birth Of Jam Sessions
Many people believe that Woodstock was the birthplace of what has become known as the American drum circle. It involves a group of people coming together to play music. Also known as a “jam session,” the music being played made everyone join in on the fun with any instrument they could get their hands on. They jammed with pals and strangers alike! It was a great way to build a feeling of community.
Setting Up The Sound System
Bill Hanley had been the sound engineer at the music festival. He said that Woodstock was a big success. He created custom speaker columns and put arrays on high towers. This way, they could entertain up to 150,000 people in the crowd. We already know that the crowd was bigger than that, but no one could deny that the event’s sound system had been excellent.
A Truly Unique Experience
If you like music, you might feel envious of all the people who got to go to Woodstock. We are sure that the attendees consider it an exceptional experience. After all, not everyone gets to don bead necklaces, wear colorful clothes, and celebrate love with hundreds of thousands of people. Apart from that, it was fun to watch your favorite musicians live! We can only dream of attending an event as legendary as this.
Fun In The Sun
Like we said earlier, a lot of parents had their kids with them. On top of the music, it must have been nice to lie down under the sun and take in the heat. The event took place outdoors the entire time, so it was a given. They got to experience rain as well! We can’t help but wonder what the children thought at the time. Perhaps they had a blast regardless of the weather. After all, we personally loved soaking in the rain when we were still little! We bet that it only made the festival even more memorable.
Families Celebrating Peace, Love, Music
Whoa, check out how cool this dad is. We bet that your own father has never taken you to a music festival in the past. There is an even smaller chance that he let you hop on a psychedelic school bus. The family in the photo wanted to have a picnic in the middle of the music festival. They rested on the sleeping bags, ate snacks, and enjoyed 7up on the field. The kids wore tie-dye tops at the event as well!
Latin Rock At Woodstock
Carlos Santana and his band blessed the festivalgoers with Latin Rock. The crowd admired them, of course. “So I said, ‘Hey, I think I’ll take some psychedelics, and by the time I’m coming down, it’ll be time to go on stage, and I’ll feel fine.’ But when I was peaking around two o’clock, somebody said, ‘If you don’t go right now, you’re not gonna go on,’” the music legend shared with Rolling Stones. We are sure that some people consider his set the most memorable moment at Woodstock. After all, it must have been quite an experience to hear him on the guitar as David Brown played the bass.
Love Makes The World Go ‘Round
Sharing was also huge during the festival. After all, it was one of the values that the festivalgoers upheld. People did not mind sharing their food even though there was not enough to go around. The crazy number of people resulted in a food shortage. The good news is that Woodstock was all about celebrating love. Folks volunteered to feed the people on the festival grounds. We are glad that people walked the talk!
More Amazing Performances
The music festival went on for three days, so there were a lot of musical acts. Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Who played for the festivalgoers. The former was the first big-name act that signed on to the festival. After that, the organizers gained some credibility and found it easier to strike deals with other musical acts. We can’t help but wonder if there will be a festival that would eclipse Woodstock.
Lending A Hand To Those In Need
We have already talked about how everyone was celebrating love during those three days. No one minded helping strangers out when it came to that. Aside from the music, the sense of community was made Woodstock completely different from any other music festival out there. It was definitely in a league of its own. Check out this photo of some guys laughing together. Even though we have no idea what made them laugh, one thing is for certain. They were clearly having a lot of fun!
Atop The Roof Of The Vans
There is no denying the fact that psychedelic vans made for a cool mode of transportation. Aside from that, they made for a great way to go to Woodstock. They were comfy and offered a great view of the stage. Guests could catch a break there and sleep while they waited for the next performance. It sounds like a great way to camp out! We would choose this oversleeping on the hood of a car or a motorbike.
In general, you can wear anything that you want to a music festival. At Woodstock, people went for tie-dye shirts. However, others preferred to stand out from the crowd to send a message! We can’t help but wonder what was going through his mind when he picked this out. If he was trying to say something with his outfit, we have no idea what it was. Oh well, kudos to him for his dedication and creativity.
Hugs For All
This photo was taken as another morning broke out on the festival grounds. The photographer was able to capture a couple locked up in embrace under a blanket. We are sure that they were not the only ones huddling together for warmth that weekend. The sleeping arrangements at Woodstock were something else. Apart from this, they had to deal with sporadic rain at night since it took place in the summer.
One For The History Books
More than 400,000 people went to Bethel’s farmland to celebrate love, peace, and music on August 15, 1969. It was a huge cultural event, which was only amplified further by the press. There is a documentary about it as well. These days, you will find the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts at the farmland that served as Woodstock’s venue. The museum is an homage to the festival and the ‘60s.
It was a truly unforgettable event. Over the course of the festival, visitors were treated to live music by Janis Joplin, Santana, The Who, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Crosby, Stills, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly, and the Family Stone, Nash & Young, and Jefferson Airplane. On that weekend, Woodstock saw a total of 32 musical acts on its stage. They were spread out over three days. It is hard to imagine the star power that had been present at the music festival!
The music was not the only thing that the concertgoers shared. They enjoyed intimate moments with one another as well. Do you think that this couple had any idea that someone took a photo of such a private moment? We doubt it. However, they were not the only ones partaking in these moments of intimacy at the time. After all, we already saw that photo of a couple cuddling under a blanket.
Time For Chow
As soon as people look at photos from Woodstock, they see how on point everyone had been when it comes to fashion. Despite this, the most impressive part of it was the sense of community and inclusivity at the event. Hundreds of thousands of people had to eat, and they did so with the help of volunteers! The women below deserve a lot of credit for pulling off such a huge task. Bravo, ladies!
Come Rain or Shine
Rain or shine, it was going to keep going. Woodstock was not going to fall victim to the elements! The good news is that the festivalgoers did not mind it. When rained poured down, the party kept going. As you can imagine, everyone partied as much as they could. Check out the smiles on their faces. It did not look like they minded the rain one bit. This is the kind of attitude that contributed to its success.
No one really likes waiting in line, right? It is not just exhausting but also boring. It is a good idea to take a nap on top of your friend’s car as you wait. Those who did not have tents with them slept on the hood of a car instead. We doubt that it was very comfortable, but it was better than dozing off on the ground at the very least. As a consolation prize, they were spared from muddy water whenever it rained.
Yoga has since become super popular, but it was also fairly big in the ‘60s. The people who went to Woodstock were very into it. Those who were familiar with it even hosted makeshift seminars at the music festival. Newbies were not afraid to give it a shot either. You were wrong if you thought that it was all about rock ‘n’ roll. Yoga also had a place in the most iconic event of the decade.
Welcome To The Club
As you might have figured out by now, the festivalgoers had a friendly and peaceful attitude. They all came together to unite during such a momentous time in the history of the country. If you ask us, it is pretty impressive that no one fought during the festival. These days, people tend to get rowdy when they go to concerts and music festivals. It is incredible to think that everyone got along very well at Woodstock. We doubt that it would be possible in this day and age.
Janis Joplin Of Course
Do we really have to introduce Janis Joplin to you? Of course not. The talented musician was one of the headline acts at Woodstock. She began her set at 2 a.m. on Saturday. As expected, she captured the hearts and souls of everyone in attendance. It was her biggest solo show at the time. In the past, she was a part of a psychedelic rock band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. Cheap Thrills, their album, was even added to the Rolling Stone list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
I’m in the Band
At first, festivalgoers needed to pay a fee for admission. However, the organizers chose to stop charging people as the crowd got bigger and bigger. As people entered the festival, the organizers figured out that it would be impossible to limit the crowd’s size. They initially had 50,000 people in mind, but the total number of visitors blew up to nearly half a million. Aside from that, there were even more people who wanted to go to Woodstock but could not reach the venue for one reason or another.
Writing the Next Big Hit
The third and last day of Woodstock was as amazing as the ones that came before it. Tim Hardin performed on that day, but not a lot of people talk about his set. He was a folk artist that many people consider nothing more than a one-hit-wonder. His claim to fame was his hit song, “If I Were a Carpenter.” We are sure that his fans loved hearing it live as much as they liked hearing it on the radio.
The farmland that served as the venue of the event was owned by a farmer called Max Yasgur. The event even moved him to tears! “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,” he once said. Woodstock nearly did not happen since the organizers found it hard to find a venue. Luckily, he let them hold it on his land!
Helping One Another
At the time, the Vietnam War was raging on the other side of the globe. The “flower child” movement was launched in opposition to the conflict. The folks at Woodstock advocated for solidary and peace. They were vocal about their feelings about the violence that was going on. A Flower child used to mean the same thing as a hippie. They wore flowers and floral pieces, which explains why that moniker called them. They said that these objects are meant to symbolize love, peace, and belonging.
Extra Extra Read All About It
You probably already know this, but the Internet was not yet a thing in those days. People only learned of the news from magazines and newspapers. They might have been at a music festival, but the visitors still wanted to stay updated. A lot of paper had been used at the event. The truth was that cleaning up after the event was a huge ordeal. It involved bulldozers in getting rid of all the waste!
It is not a secret that fashion trends always return. This photo might have been taken decades ago, but no one would be the wiser if we pretended it just happened yesterday. We are sure that you have seen similar hairstyles and outfits recently. At any rate, you can borrow inspiration from this couple if you want to emulate the ‘60s. Isn’t it nice to see all the colors that they had been wearing?
Goth before Goth
You would have had a hard time looking for a person in all black at the music festival. This is the reason the photo below is so remarkable. The woman was decked in black, which was not a common practice among hippies. On the bright side, Woodstock was big on inclusivity, so we doubt that people looked at her weirdly. It is admirable to see someone with no fear of standing out from the crowd if you ask us!
Melanie Sings ‘Candles in the Rain’
The photo below shows Melanie Schekeryk. At the event, she got to perform “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).” Can you believe that she continues to perform even to this day? She kicked off her career as a performer in 1967. If you look up her name online, you can see the dates of her future events. We are glad to hear that she is still active in the industry even though she is now a senior citizen.
Did you know that fortune-telling was also a hit at Woodstock? We have no idea what kind of advice the fortune teller is giving her, but it is clear that she was amused by it. There is a chance that she heard exactly what she wanted to hear at the session. If that is not the case, perhaps she just heard the most absurd thing that she had ever heard n her life. At any rate, we are sure that she got her money’s worth.
Fresh From the Farm
Where did this cow come from? Did someone bring it to the event? Why are they milking it there and then? We do not have the answers to those questions. However, this only goes to show that the weirdest things really did happen at Woodstock. We just hope that no animal had been harmed at the music festival. Since Woodstock was about peace and unity, we are sure that this was the case.
There is no way to get a photo of 400,000 people all at once. But do not worry, we can still paint a picture for you. A math whiz figured out another way to look at it. Apparently, if you line up the same number of blue jeans, you would have ten million yards of fabric. How impressive is that? To be honest, this only works if you have a good grasp of how much clothing that would be.
Jimi Hendrix Sings
More than 30 musical acts performed at the music event. Jimi Hendrix was among the list, of course. He embraced everything that the stage had to offer him at Woodstock. No one was shocked that he could please everyone who got to see him. It was the ‘60s, and he was a rock star. By the time he performed, however, there were only 25,000 people left. We bet everyone else regretted going home early.
2017 or 1969?
Man, how cool is the couple in the picture? If they were alive today, they would probably go to Coachella as well. His cut-off denim shorts and her bohemian dress are still in vogue even to this day. On top of that, his afro and her bleached waves have never gone out of style. Don’t you wish that you could be even a fraction as cool as they are? They make it look so easy!
Rain Dance Man
Once it started to rain, the festivalgoers came together to perform a rain dance. This was their attempt to put an end to the downpour. Sadly, it did not seem to work because it continued to rain. Oh well, they say that it is the thought that counts. Clearly, the elements did not dampen their mood. They might have been soaked, but they did not let it stop them from having a blast! Good for them.
Twist and Shout
While the rain dance did not work, teamwork did achieve something. It is always nice to help out a friend in need! If you wanted to dry something out, you had to twist and shout. We are not referring to the famous dance move. No, we mean the traditional method that involves wringing a piece of clothing to expel excess water. It is not all that easy, but what matters is that they were having fun with it.
Raindrops On My Head
It looked like the crowd got used to the rain anyway. They did not complain about it and simply enjoyed what nature had to offer. The woman in the photo did not even seem to notice it by then. In reality, the rain-affected the performances. For one thing, it was the reason Jimi Hendrix could not go on stage right away. He only performed on Monday morning, which is why there were only 25,000 attendees left.
The organizers initially expected a crowd of 50,000 people. However, it did not take long before the interest grew bigger than that. Two days before the music festival, over a hundred thousand tickets had already been pre-sold. Resources soon became scarce. The fencing gates and ticket booths were not yet ready either. The organizers had no efficient way to charge the festivalgoers, so they simply made it free and took down the venue’s fences. This is why so many people went to Woodstock!
You probably know Jerry Garcia as the guitarist, founding member, and singer-songwriter of the Grateful Dead. He posed for this photo before they went on stage. His beard, glasses, and long hair scream, say Woodstock to us! If you are unfamiliar with the band, it was formed in 1965. The musical act has since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On the Greatest Artists of All Time list by Rolling Stone, the band earned the 57th spot!
No matter where you look, you would find people smiling, singing, and dancing at Woodstock. The music helped everybody relax their minds, bodies, and souls. Max Yasgur, the man who owned the land where it was held, spoke to the audience on the third day. He told them, “You’ve proven something to the world…the important thing that you’ve proven to the world is 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!”