Fifty years ago, the first Woodstock festival was held Aug. 15-18, 1969, at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, N.Y. The iconic rock concert took place despite rain, wind, mud, and the chaos that ensues when an unexpected 400,000 to 500,000 young people show up to party for three straight days. (Planners had expected about 50,000.)
Today, the spirit of Woodstock lives on and, in its honor, we bring you a special double page feature filled with nostalgic photos and some surprising details about the concert.
For instance, did you know the music festival never actually took place in the town of Woodstock? And that it almost didn’t happen? Or that the U.S. Army came to the rescue by airlifting supplies and getting performing rock stars to the stage?
Traffic, jammed for miles around, forced many to abandon their cars and walk or hitch their way in. And most people missed Jimi Hendrix’s legendary performance as he closed the
concert that Monday morning, playing a shrieking rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.
There are plans for a 50th anniversary Woodstock celebration, slated for Aug. 16-18 in upstate New York and featuring a mixture of original Woodstock music veterans along with today’s headliners. However, as of this printing, the festival’s principal investor has pulled out, and the promotors have yet to secure a venue. (Hmmn. Is history repeating itself?)
But even if Woodstock 50 is a no-go, there will be other celebrations throughout the country as people attempt to get in touch with their latent hippie. Baby Boomers, in particular, will be partying like it’s 1969, rockin’ their retro looks with bell-bottoms, tie-dyed shirts, granny glasses, beads and flowers in their graying hair.
They’ll bring out the vintage albums and groove to the classic rock music of Santana, The Who, Joe Cocker, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Beatles
and Stones may be played as well, although neither performed at the original Woodstock.
The young-at-hearts will, no doubt, reminisce about the turbulent times of civil-rights unrest, Vietnam, materialism, women’s lib ~ and perhaps the time when Mom and Dad found out they were “on the pill.”
And even though many grew up and became materialistic (the old peace symbols gave way to Mercedes hood ornaments), this generation can take pride in the fact that they were a part
of a movement that embraced peace, love, equality, life, and some of the most incredible music ever made.
See you in September.
Terri Bryce Reeves, Editor
“ People today are still living off the table scraps of the sixties.
They are still being passed around – the music and the ideas.”