For 50 years, we’ve stewed with the cultural significance of the three-day peace and music blowout that was the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. It’s shorthand for the late ’60s and increasingly synonymous with a generation that redefined youth culture. It would be an impressive feat of self-seclusion or obliviousness to never have seen images of a half million attendees wearing jeans and fringe and singing and dancing in mud-caked fields.
The event weighs heavily for the artists it launched (Carlos Santana; it was super group Crosby, Stills,Nash & Young’s second gig), but also for becoming an idealized moment in the middle of the Vietnam War when a generation of young people came together for a few days of celebration and non violence.
While there’s no official number of Woodstock attendees, it’s thought to be somewhere around a half million. That was owing, in part, to the fact that the festival promoters made the event free when so many more people showed up than expected.
Attendees put up with a lot, like rainstorms and a lack of food and water (Fyre Festival, anyone?). As Woodstock was coming to a close, though, the crowd thinned out significantly. By the time Hendrix, the closing act, took the stage at 9 a.m. Monday, Rolling Stone writer Jan Hodenfield wrote at the time, only about 30,000 people were still around.
2019 marks the 50-year anniversary of one of the most iconic rock events of the 20th century. 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. The event, or “happening” as it might have been called back in the day, has since become synonymous with hippie counterculture—sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll—and lots and lots of mud.
Author : Daniel Rafearo