Best Photos And Untold Stories Of The Most Iconic Music Festival – Woodstock

Woodstock Festival was more than just a musical event. It was more than the world’s largest music festival, and it was more than the biggest congregation of hippies and bohemians America had ever seen.

Woodstock festival was a spiritual experience shared by over 400,000 people who, for 4 days in the late 1969 summer, came together to create an alternative, utopian society that fueled the imagination and idealism of generations to come.

But Woodstock didn’t just materialize out of nowhere. The steps leading up to Woodstock were almost as miraculous and serendipitous as the event itself – and the amount of resistance the organizers had to deal with makes it a miracle it ever took place at all.

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Where Did It Happen?

It was Max and Miriam Yasgur of Bethel, New York that finally provided the space for now famous music and art festival. They volunteered their dairy farm, with its view of the nearby pond, as a venue after the town’s residents sabotaged the original plans for the festival. It wasn’t all peace and love – the Yasgurs would receive threatening phone calls by enraged community members, but many people supported them and celebrated the victory for the Aquarian Exposition.

Still, signs saying things like “Buy No Milk. Stop Max’s Hippy Music Festival” being placed near their property, and the Yasgurs’ suffered a great deal of social ostracization from their community.Where Did It Happen?

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Getting There

Woodstock was originally conceived as a for-profit festival, and while the organizers agreement with the town of Bethel was that they would not host more than 50,000 participants, in actuality they had already sold over 200,000 tickets before the festival even started.

By the time the festival came around, around 400,000 festival goers were converging on the little New York town.

It wasn’t easy to get to there. The amount of vehicles that were suddenly on the road was a lot larger than was ever planned. It was raining; the mud added to the traffic jam. Many of the attendants simply left their cars where they were and continued on foot.Getting There

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock (1646679a)

All Those People

With nearly double the number of expected attendees – and eight times the allowed participants – it soon became clear to the organizers that there was no point in trying to continue charging people entrance fees. From a for-profit event, Woodstock Ventures made a quick change in their plans and decided to re-designate it as a free event.

The fences were torn down, and nearly half a million people descended upon the pastoral hillside.All Those People

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Road Jams

With such bad traffic on the way to the festival, many people got out of their vehicles and simply improvised jam sessions then and there, on the spot. Others just left their cars on the road, deciding to walk towards the festival, and hoped to pick their vehicles up on their way back.

Those playing music, singing and dancing along the road added to the festive, otherworldly vibes on the way to the event, and helped set the peaceful tone that prevailed throughout Woodstock.Road Jams

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


The word that first pops to mind when you say Woodstock is probably “peace”.

The festival was a shining example of what a peaceful society could accomplish if they simply willed it. It was an important theme of the festival and influenced many to protest the Vietnam war in a new political movement – one of many that would emerge as a result of the festival and its widespread influence.Peace

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Fake News

Good vibes and positivity were the premise of the festival.

Despite this, during the first two days of the festival, the media’s reports about Woodstock said it was a chaotic and negative event, with violence and filth being the dominant factors in it – but after many festival goers told their parents what was really happening over the phone, many concerned parents called in to the reporting newspapers, telling them their reports were false. Over the next few days, reporters changed their tune and began to report about how peaceful and positive the festival actually was.

In fact, it was a miracle that with 400,000 people in the same place, in difficult weather and packed surroundings, no incidents of violence were recorded!Fake News

Image by Three Lions/Getty Images (3137441)


Sure, Woodstock was a community and the realization of an alternate vision for society. It was a refuge from the pressures and expectations of “Square” society, and allowed people to be and to explore new aspects of themselves in a safe, supporting environment. But for others, Woodstock was something much simpler than that: it was, simply, an opportunity to kick back, lay down and relax.Relaxing

Image by Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images (96237297)

High Concentration of Artists

Another amazing thing about Woodstock is that, while it was a huge event, the concentration of artists and creators in the crowd was huge. People weren’t content to just sit and consume art – they wanted to take part in it and to create their own.

So wherever you looked, you could see people dancing, filming, writing and improvising, working in collaboration to create something larger than the sum of its parts.High Concentration of Artists

Granger/Shutterstock (8695415a)

Trying Out New Things

Woodstock wasn’t just about the freedom to love and enjoy good music – it was also about the freedom for self-expression.

The festive, accepting environment gave event goers a chance to try out new fashion ideas, wear strange things they wouldn’t be able to wear elsewhere, and to express themselves in novel ways.

This festival goer, for instance, chose to decorate her eyes in a way that wouldn’t seem out of place at today’s Burning Man or Coachella festivals, for instance!Trying Out New Things

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


Group meditation and spiritual rituals were a big part of life at the festival.

All sorts of people gathered and meditated on peace, love and prosperity – some in meditation circles, some in disorganized groups, and some – alone, in the woods.

This helped give a sense of calm, cool vibes to everyone around – and even those who didn’t participate could feel the positive energy.Meditation

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Mud Time!

One of the most iconic things about Woodstock was the rainy weather.

Despite the festival taking place in August, the outdoor event was accosted by torrential rains, which turned the gentle, grassy slope reserved for audience seating into a slippery, muddy hill. People were wet, filthy and caked with dirt – but instead of being bummed out because of the bad weather, the festival goers turned it into another opportunity for having fun instead.

People splashed, played and wrestled in the mud and turned it from a problem into an attraction.Mud Time!

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Plenty of Kids

Seeing a child was not unusual at Woodstock. Parents took their flower children with them to the festival, and the loving, free-spirited feeling of the event made it a surprisingly safe and comfortable place for them to run around.

Some people even came to the festival without any kids and left as parents; there are reports of two babies being born during Woodstock.

All this greatly added to the feeling of community and alternate society that the festival had created.Plenty of Kids

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Young and Old

If there was one place without discrimination in the ’60, it was Woodstock. Age, race, sexuality and gender were all put aside, and everybody was welcome to join the positivity.

At Woodstock, people felt, the only thing that mattered was the shared experience of peace, love and music – and it didn’t matter if you were a 5-year-old child or a 75-year-old senior: all were welcome, all were respected, and all would find a place.Young and Old

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


It wasn’t just humans that took part in Woodstock. Between the long haired, psychedelic concert goers were also pets of various kinds.

This dog looks like a creation straight out of Jim Henson’s creature labs!

But the best thing about this photo?

The dog’s owner’s custom is a designated dog bowl compartment sewn into the back of her bag.Pets

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Janis Joplin

One of the festival’s most iconic performances was given by the young rock’n’roll legend, Janis Joplin.

Joplin had told her band Woodstock would be just another gig, not comprehending the scale of the event until she was flown in by helicopter and saw the 400,000 strong audience splayed out beneath her.

As the chopper began to descend, Joplin began to feel nervous – but ended up giving one of her most memorable live performances, and staying for the whole three days of the festival, being one of the last people to leave.Janis Joplin

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


Countess Vera von Lehndorff-Steinort – better known as Veruschka von Lehndorff – was an icon of the ’60s. Her life, in and of itself, was like something out of a book: Born to an aristocratic German family in their centuries-old estate in Prussia, she was forced to flee Germany with her family after her father – a reserve officer in the German army – allegedly attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Following the war, she became an immensely successful model and actress, and an icon of the counterculture movement.

She, like many other celebrities of the day, found her way to Woodstock as well.Veruschka

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

The Age of Aquarius

Despite its name, the event we know today as “Woodstock” did not take place in or near the New York town of Woodstock at all.

Where did the name “Woodstock” come from, then?

Originally billed as “An Aquarian Experience: 3 Days of Peace and Music,” (that “Aquarian” bit refers to the “Age of Aquarius” you might have heard about) Woodstock faced many challenges before it was able to get off the ground. But how did this Aquarian experience start in the first place?

The story starts with four young men – two with a vision, and two with the funds to realize it.The Age of Aquarius

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

The Original Woodstock

While Woodstock would eventually be labelled a “Music & Art Fair,” its original vision was very different, and started out with two young men: Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld.

Michael and Artie were music promoters and event organizers with close ties to the hippie movement in New York.

After running several successful events together, Artie and Michael had decided to start work on a new concept. Many of the folk and counterculture scene’s artists – like Jimmy Hendrix and Bob Dylan – were hanging out around Woodstock in northern New York, and the two producers thought it would be a good idea to establish a small, high quality recording studio there for them to use.

They expected the recordings in their “studio in the woods” would be enough to start a label – but to get the idea off the ground, they needed funding.The Original Woodstock

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Business Partners

Joel Rosenman and John P. Roberts were two young men with a lot of money and not enough good ideas to invest it in.

In 1967, they put up an ad in The Wall Street Journal, calling themselves “Young men with unlimited capital” who were looking for new business ideas.

Over 5,000 people mailed in their offers and ideas, but it was Michael Lang’s and Artie Kornfeld’s proposition that caught their attention.

The four met up, and a dialogue was instantly established. The Woodstock recording studio seemed to be well on its way to becoming a reality.Business Partners

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Change in Direction

As the four partners began to debate the proposed recording studio, their creative sessions and debates made them realize that it might not be such a great business idea. Still, they felt that tapping in to the counterculture movement in Woodstock was a good idea, and after several brainstorming sessions decided to host a music and art festival near the town.

Unfortunately, the conservative community at Woodstock, NY, were vehemently opposed to such a festival, and so the group had to look for an alternative venue.Change in Direction

Image by Tucker Ranson/Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (85479383)

Stop the Hippie Festival!

While Lang, Kornfeld, Rosenman, and Roberts had both the vision and the capital to turn their festival into a reality, what they didn’t have was the support of the townspeople.

At first, “Woodstock Ventures” – who had, by this time, located themselves in a psychedelically decorated office space in downtown Manhattan – planned to host the festival just outside of Woodstock. Unfortunately, the local population were vehemently opposed to a festival which they considered radical, corrupting and dangerous to the youth.

With bands like Creedence Clearwater Revival already having signed on, the organizers needed to find a venue fast, until eventually they found Max and Miriam Yasgur.Stop the Hippie Festival!

Image by Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images (96165476)

It Took a Whole Village

Even with less than 200,000 tickets sold, it was a challenge to accommodate all the attendees. Imagine what happened when around half a million people showed up! Many local vendors protested the event so those who wanted to work adjusted the prices to the high demand. The festival visitors were left to help one another while people in Sullivan County jumped in with food donations and supplies. Field kitchens, restrooms and other services were soon erected, and the festival goers took part in creating the infrastructure to support the massive amount of people at the event.It Took a Whole Village

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Lack of Preparation

It wasn’t just the festival’s management, the city council or even the State of New York that weren’t prepared for the huge influx of people arriving at Woodstock.

Many of the festival goers themselves came completely unprepared, with minimal shelter and no plan for personal hygiene during the festival. Local community helped provide sandwiches and blankets – but many people were still caught out without any ability to stay warm at night or feed themselves.Lack of Preparation

Image by Tucker Ranson/Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (85479387)

Sleeping in Cars

For some, sleeping on the ground without a tent was not an option. Many of those who didn’t have a place to sleep had to turn back to their abandoned cars to get some rest before returning to the festival.Sleeping in Cars

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Not Easily Accessible

The nearby hospitals were on standby, knowing that tens of thousands of people were expected to attend Woodstock. However, the huge number of actual attendees made them struggle to accommodate everybody in need. Since the roads were jammed, medical supplies had to be flown in and air dropped by a helicopter. By this point, the Air Force was helping fly artists in and out of the festival in an attempt to alleviate traffic and help keep things moving along.Not Easily Accessible

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Wild Party

The scarcity of food and medical care didn’t translate onto LSD, psilocybin and mescaline. Many other drugs as well as alcohol were easily available at the festival, and were used often and, some would say, in excess. People experiencing bad reactions to the hallucinogens reported for help often.

Still, out of the nearly half a million people in attendance, only one drug related death was reported at the festival.

That’s not to say there weren’t any medical problems at Woodstock…Wild Party

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Fatigue Sets In

As the festival progressed and the initial excitement began to die down, people began to feel the toll of partying nonstop outside in the rain and August sun.

By the end of the festival, people were properly fatigued. They leaned on whatever they could – fences, rocks, and each other, trying to rest between sets.

For most, it was a good kind of tiredness – but it was exhausting nonetheless.

Still, as you can see in this photo, people were tired – but happy.Fatigue Sets In

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Order, Please

To people outside the festival, especially rural New York types, a gathering of nearly half a million long haired miscreants, fueled by drugs and alcohol with an anarchistic agenda, sounded like a nightmare scenario.

There was real fear that they would riot or become violent, and locals unfamiliar with their “Peace and Love” culture were truly afraid. Concern was so severe that New York governor Nelson Rockefeller wanted to order 10,000 New York State National Guard troops to overlook the festival – but one of the organizers, John Roberts, managed to convince him not to do so.Order, Please

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Aerial View

The aerial view of all the attendants at the Bethel NY dairy farm is breathtaking even by today’s standards – but 400,000 people gathering for one musical event was unheard of back in the 1960s.

The festival made Sullivan County declare a state of emergency and ban all future mass gatherings – and even Woodstock’s host, dairy farmer Max Yasgur, didn’t want to lease his property in the following years.Aerial View

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

The Signs

The woods surrounding the festival had become an area as full of people as any New York city street. Festival goers were coming and going, making their way from their cars and their camps to the main stage and back, and getting lost in the woods was easy.

So, with the “can do” DIY approach prevalent throughout the 4-day event, people decided to put up signs to help people find their way.

While very practical, the signs still reflected the festival’s gentle – and humorous – attitude.The Signs

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


While everyone seems to remember the muddy hill overlooking the festival’s performances, the forest and the congested roads leading to the site, one of the festival’s most important parts is rarely discussed: the stage.

With all of the venue changes that took place before the festival’s launch, the organizers had found themselves working against a ticking clock. One day before the festival started, they had to reach a decision: will they finish putting up the fences, thereby ensuring only paying attendees would enter the festival – or would they finish building the stage.

Realizing hundreds of thousands of people were on their way, and fearing riots in case they came and there would be no stage for the shows they came to see, the festival’s organizers chose to build the stage and leave the fences unfinished.

Here, Richie Havens walks up the ramp from the backstage area toward the stage for his performance.Backstage

Granger/Shutterstock (8736332a)


There were all sorts of gatherings in the Woodstock crowd. Some people were there to simply enjoy the music, but others had come with social change in mind. In addition to dancing, meditation circles and communal kitchens, there were also protests of all sorts. And while protestors chanted and waved signs – there was no violence. Most protests revolved around war, racism, sexism, social justice and animal cruelty – and many of the festival goers were exposed to new ideas and agendas.Protests

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Legendary Vans

With no clear path for the vehicles, no organized parking lots or roads that could deal with the volume of cars, some vehicles ended up in the heart of the crowd.

Like almost every other available surface, these cars, trucks and busses became canvasses for DIY, psychedelic expression.

People would decorate them with flowers and messages of peace, freedom and love, turning them into colorful messengers of the festival – and setting a new trend that can still be seen around the world today.Legendary Vans

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


At the festival, hippie artwork was on display on many vans and busses. These vehicles provided a perfect sleeping space as the rain prevented many from sleeping out under the open sky – and these vehicles soon became both a spiritual – as well as a physical – haven for anyone who needed them.

When people weren’t sleeping in them, they could sit on their roofs to get a better vantage point at the stage. It seemed like these vehicles were perfectly suited for the place they had carried their owners to.Artwork

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


Woodstock attracted hundreds of thousands of people, and they all had to sleep somewhere. Camping out was the main option, but not everybody came prepared. Despite it being in late August, a major part of the festival was accosted by rain, and so tents, cars, pieces of cloth and every other available cover were transformed into shelters under which people could rest between performances.Camping

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Janis Relaxing

After arriving at the festival, Janis Joplin decided she wanted to stay until the very end. The good vibes and amazing music spoke to her – but just like everybody else, she couldn’t stay up the entire time.

In this rare photo, we can see her having a drink and a sit down in between performances, relaxing with her fellow free spirits and enjoying a rare bit of sunshine in the otherwise rainy festival.Janis Relaxing

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Mighty Hendrix

The last artist to play at Woodstock was the indominable Jimi Hendrix.

Jimi officially closed the festival on Monday morning, rather than on Sunday night as originally planned, as sets were continually pushed back due to delays and technical complications.

As Jimi played one of the most famous sets of his career, the crowds began to dwindle. They had waited until the final show, but were tired, wet, cold and hungry – and so Hendrix only played to a crowd of around 30,000 people.Mighty Hendrix

Peter Tarnoff/ Mediapunch/Shutterstock (9853935a)

Grooving Out

One thing that sets Woodstock apart from other music festivals was the “perfect storm” of conditions – some, like the counterculture movement, which have been brewing for a long time, and others, like the traffic jams and the rain, which were merely serendipitous – which all leant to creating a unique atmosphere of calm, acceptance and a strong sense of community and fraternity between the participants.

So, while the festival’s sound system wasn’t suited for reaching 400,000 people, the atmosphere more than made up for it.Grooving Out

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Not There for the Lineup

Four hundred thousand people. Roll that number around in your head for a bit. That is a lot of people.

For comparison, getting 400,000 people to watch a YouTube video is considered an accomplishment. And all they have to do is click on a link. Getting 400,000 people to rural New York, in the rain, through traffic jams, and keeping them there for nearly 4 days – without proper toilets, food or shelter?

That’s a huge achievement.

So it’s safe to say people weren’t there just for the musical lineup – which is why many of them actually made their own entertainment when they got there!Not There for the Lineup

Image by Archive Photos/Getty Images (85477798)

The Who

The Who performed after Janis Joplin. The Woodstock gig helped the band secure its place in Rock and Roll history, with their full performance of their album, Tommy.

The band’s shows were considered a special attraction thanks to their theatrical habit of destroying their instruments as they played.

The Who’s Woodstock set is especially famous thanks to an interruption by social activist and Yippie (that’s right, Yippie with a Y) leader, Abbie Hoffman, who protested the imprisonment of John Sinclair.The Who

Image by McCarthy/Getty Images (2637357)

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were a newly formed band. Their first gig was on August 16, 1969, at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, with Joni Mitchell as their opening act. During the gig, they said that their next show was going to be someplace called “Woodstock,” and that they weren’t sure where it was, exactly.

When they finally reached the festival and saw the lineup of industry giants, agents and, of course the 400,000 people in the audience, Stills turned to the crowd and said: “This is only the second time we’ve performed in front of people. We’re scared s—less.”Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock (5884678n)

No Means – No Problem

Woodstock was a free festival for free spirits – and many of the people who came there came there with nothing.

Almost literally. No shoes, no bag, no food or money – and definitely no car.

So how did they get there?

Some of them hitchhiked, some of them got lifts from friends… and some walked.

It was almost as if the pull of the festival was so strong, that mere logistics couldn’t get in the way of people who simply had to be there.No Means - No Problem

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Sly & The Family Stone

The legendary psychedelic funk group, Sly & The Family Stone, started their set very late on Saturday night – or very early on Sunday morning, depending on your perspective. Either way, it was 3:30 AM, and the audience was tired. But Sly Stone’s electrifying stage presence brought the entire festival to life, and the band’s performance was said to be one of the best on the festival. The single “Hot Fun in the Summertime” was released that same month and climbed to #1 on the U.S. pop charts.Sly & The Family Stone

Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock (5884678l)

Cigarette Run

Woodstock was all about peace, love and music – but for some people, those things come a lot easier with a pack of smokes.

People weren’t confined to the festival grounds, and would often make excursions out to town and back, carrying supplies – if the managed to get the townsfolk to do business with them.

Here, this enterprising, mustache wielding, tablecloth wearing pioneer can be seen returning from town with a few packs of cigs for him and some friends.Cigarette Run

Image by @woodstock / Instagram


When Carlos Santana and his band were signed on to Woodstock’s setlist, they were almost complete unknowns. They had yet to release their first album – although it was already in production – and only got on the bill thanks to their legendary manager, Bill Graham.

Despite their relative anonymity, their show was electrifying, and their 11-minute instrumental, “Soul Sacrifice,” was considered one of the best segments of the festival. So much so that it got featured in the Woodstock movie – and launched the band to international fame.Santana

Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock (5884678z)

Bike Rest

400,000 people, all clamoring to get close to the same stage, means that real estate is at a premium. Nearly half a million people in the same place also generate a lot of trash.

Put these two facts together, and what you end up with is the simple fact that if you wanted some peace and quiet at Woodstock, you might want to go to the only place where people weren’t in a hurry to go: the garbage piles.

Good thing this guy had something to keep him off the ground.Bike Rest

Image by Archive Photos/Getty Images (1094928130)


Two of the most memorable sets at Woodstock were performed by Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

Rolling Stone magazine listed Janis Joplin at #46 on their list of greatest artists and #28 among the greatest singers, and named Jimi the greatest guitarist of all time. Unfortunately, both of these musical giants died a few short months after Woodstock, both at the age of 27.

After they passed away, both of their discographies have gone gold, platinum and triple-platinum, and almost every live recording was put into some collection.Headliners

Image by Walter Iooss Jr./Getty Images (75554776)

The Father of Festival Sound

It’s easy to forget, but before Woodstock was a cultural phenomenon, it was a music festival – albeit, the biggest music festival ever produced up until that point.

Michael Lang, one of the festival’s producers, was looking for a sound engineer who was up to the challenge.

“I was trying to find someone who could do a sound system for Woodstock, and there was no one who had ever done something like that before…” Lang recalled.The Father of Festival Sound

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

The Sound System

“…Then there was this crazy guy in Boston who might want to take a shot at it,” Lang continued. That guy was Bill Hanley, later known as the father of festival sound.

“I built special speaker columns on the hills and had 16 loudspeaker arrays in a square platform going up to the hill on 70-foot (21 m) towers. We set it up for 150,000 to 200,000 people. Of course, 500,000 showed up,” Hanley later said.

Still, the system delivered.The Sound System

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Recording the Festival

While Woodstock was planned as a for-profit event, because of the massive influx of people and the lack of time to put up proper fencing, the organizers soon declared it a free and open festival to all. It wasn’t that they wanted to – they just had no choice.

But ultimately, Woodstock ended up making a lot of money. Not through ticket sales as expected, but rather, through the show recordings – and the award winning documentary film made by the producers.Recording the Festival

Image by Tucker Ranson/Pictorial Parade/Hulton Archive/Getty Images (85479391)

The VIP Area

While Woodstock was open to all, there was one area that remained fenced off and exclusive: backstage.

Give any music historian access to a time machine with the caveat that they could only use it once, and we guarantee they’d choose to travel back to Woodstock’s backstage area.

The number of influential musicians that were present, together, mingling and talking to each other at that small back stage area is simply staggering.The VIP Area

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Bus Hanging

It seems that everything in Woodstock was imbued with some sort of extra meaning. The music festival was more than a music festival, the shows were more than shows – and vehicles were more than just vehicles.

In Woodstock, having a psychedelic bus meant more than having a means of transportation. It meant having a community, setting your own rules – and, most importantly, it meant freedom.

Here, we can see a group of friends having fun on the bus – this image couldn’t scream “1960s” louder.Bus Hanging

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Sitting on the Ground

So what was being at the festival like?

In later years, Woodstock attendees would speak about an electrifying atmosphere, a sense of something big, important and new taking place around them.

And that’s all well and good, but you might be asking “okay, but what was it like?”

And thanks to the many photos taken at the festival, we have a pretty good sense of what it was like.

For most people, it was mostly about sitting down on the ground with friends and enjoying good music together.Sitting on the Ground

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Taken by Surprise

Woodstock was a huge surprise, to everyone involved.

The artists didn’t realize they’d be playing to such a huge crowd, the organizers didn’t expect such a huge crowd to show up and the festival goers themselves didn’t realize the scale of the event they were getting into.

But it wasn’t just them.

Businesspeople who came to the festival weren’t expecting that large of a gathering, either, and no matter how well stocked and well prepared they thought they were, they simply could not keep up with the demand of the crowd.Taken by Surprise

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Making Do

Woodstock, as we’ve established, was full of free, artistic spirits – and the festival was an extremely inspirational setting.

But due to the traffic jams and hostility from the surrounding towns, getting basic supplies, let alone artistic supplies, was a huge challenge.

Still, that didn’t get in the way of the festival goers expressing themselves. So even if they didn’t have any paint, fabric or material to create with, the Woodstock community repurposed used bottles and whatever else they could find on hand to express themselves.Making Do

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Going Green

While some festival goers had trouble building shelters out of nothing, others were quite comfortable with taking to the forest.

This group here – the musical group “David Peel & the lower east side,” according to their sign – were clearly capable of building a perfectly comfortable shelter out of tree branches and leaves.

Their sign also says “Have a Marijuana” so we think it might be safe to assume they were quite comfortable with plants, greenery and clandestine buildings.Going Green

Image by Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images (96237501)

Woodstock: The Documentary

When Woodstock’s producers were getting the festival together, they thought it might be interesting to document it. They asked around Los Angeles, looking for a studio willing to finance the film, and eventually found one that was willing to put forward some camera equipment and a small budget of $100,000.

Woodstock became one of the highest grossing films of 1970, and hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people flocked to theaters for weeks on end. The film not only made a profit – it covered the whole festival’s expenses.

Today, it is considered one of the best documentaries ever made.Woodstock: The Documentary

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Final Show

Jimi Hendrix played the festival’s final show on Monday, August 18, starting at 9:00 am and finishing at 11:00.

In front of a little over 30,000 people – less than ten percent of the festival’s attendees – Hendrix belted out one of his most iconic and impressive performances, including his famed rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” which would later go down in music history as one of the most epic guitar solos of all time.

With Jimi’s twanging guitar in the background, people started to pack their things and head home.Final Show

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Closing Time

As people started to get up and leave, the once packed hill of Max Yasgur’s dairy farm began to resemble its old self once more.

But everyone who’s been there knew that that little stretch of land was forever changed by the historical, watershed event that took place there over the previous few days.

Despite it emptying of people and tents, despite the stage having been taken down, something of Woodstock would remain on that hill, forever.Closing Time

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Staying Behind

Woodstock was such a cathartic experience, that when it was over, some people simply didn’t want to leave.

Here and there, huddled between blankets and coats, small groups, couples and even individuals would stay behind, basking in the glory of the festival that had taken place around them.

Some savored every last bit of atmosphere they could before they got up and left, while others simply slept exhausted from the four days of musical bliss they had just experienced.

Still others would never truly “leave” Woodstock…Staying Behind

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Famous Couple

You may know Bobbi Ercoline and her husband, Nick, from the cover of the official Woodstock album.

The two were only dating for a few months before they embarked on a road trip with some friends to the festival.

At the end of the festival, they, like many others, stood, wrapped in a quilt, and looked around at the beautiful thing that was taking place around them.

“You know how the best-laid plans go awry, but a spontaneous party ends up being the best you ever had? That was Woodstock,” Bobbi said in an interview.

Since then, the two got married and had children, and live today in upstate New York – not far from the festival’s location.Famous Couple

Image by @woodstock / Instagram

Woodstock 50

In August 2019, one of Woodstock’s original founders, Michael Lang, is planning to organize a festival to commemorate 50 years since the original 1969 event.

But he doesn’t want it to just be a reenactment of the historic Woodstock.

“Having contemporary artists interpret that music would be a really interesting and exciting idea,” he told Rolling Stone Magazine. But music is just part of his motivation for the event.

“Things on the planet are critical at this point, especially when it comes to global warming. Everyone has a stake and ignoring it is ridiculous. I really want people to explore how they can get involved. That’s one of my main motivations for doing this.”Woodstock 50

Image by Bobby Bank/Getty Images (1161852592)

Add Comment