The Woodstock was a music festival, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”. It was held at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm from August 15 to August 18, 1969. During the sometimes rainy weekend, thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of 500,000 concert-goers. It is widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history.
The late change in venue did not give the festival organizers enough time to prepare. At a meeting three days before the event, organizers felt they had two choices. One option was to improve the fencing and security which might have resulted in violence; the other involved putting all their resources into completing the stage, which would cause Woodstock Ventures to take a financial hit. The crowd, which was arriving in greater numbers and earlier than anticipated, made the decision for them. The fence was cut the night before the concert, i.e., the concert was free.
Thirty-two acts performed including Richie Havens, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Ten Years After, Sly and The Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more. Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Doors and Frank Zappa were also invited, but had declined or missed due to other concerts.
As one of the biggest rock festivals of all time and a cultural touchstone for the late Sixties, Woodstock has been referenced in many different ways in popular culture. The phrase “the Woodstock generation” became part of the common lexicon. Contemporary culture continues to remember Woodstock, with Time magazine naming “The Who at Woodstock – 1969” to the magazine’s “Top 10 Music-Festival Moments” list on March 18, 2010.
The Woodstock performance of Santana’s Soul Sacrifice is often remembered for Michael Shrieve’s elaborate drum solo.
My personal favorites are:
#1. The ‘Fish’ Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag by Country Joe and the Fish
#2. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes by Crosby, Stills & Nash
#3. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Joan Baez
I also enjoyed Janis Joplin’s Work me, Lord.
I have fancied classic rock since forever, and have always dreamed of going to a concert where I could meet all the dead and living legends. By reading “dead” its very obvious that I would never get the chance to watch them perform. The documentary Woodstock gave me the opportunity to feel like I was with them, having fun, rolling in the mud on the rainy day, dancing with all the strangers, befriending people.
I’d pray to every God there is to witness a festival this magnificent.