From August 15 to 18, 1969, an estimated 400,000 people attended Woodstock, a music event in Bethel, New York, which quickly became a defining moment in the counter-cultural movement of the time. Nearly three dozen acts played within four days, from the Grateful Dead to The Who to Jimi Hendrix, who finished the show. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this milestone in music history, let's look at some things about the festival that you may have missed.
. 1 Woodstock has been banned from its original location due to toilets.
Woodstock was conceived in early 1969 by a group of 20 people: Artie Kornfeld, Michael Lang, Joel Rosenman and John Roberts. In January of this year, the four men ̵
The festival's original location was to be at Howard Mills Industrial Park, Wallkill, near Middletown, New York. After negotiations with the landowners, the four believed they had found a solution. Wallkill residents, however, flung the idea out of fears that an influx of visitors – potentially under the influence of alcohol or drugs – could be potentially problematic. By insisting that the portable toilets at the concert were non-compliant and refused to grant approval, Wallkill effectively prohibited Woodstock from taking place there on the 15th of August, just one month before its scheduled start date.
. 2 Woodstock was rescued by a farmer.
When Wallkill broke through, the promoters turned to Bethel, New York, a small town of only 2366 inhabitants, where a farmer named Max Yasgur owned a 600 acre dairy farm. As in Wallkill, the Bethelers were not particularly enthusiastic about a concert that would attract a considerable audience. But Yasgur did not share her fears. Although he was middle-aged, a worker, and as far from a "hippie" as possible, he respected the concertgoers' desire to participate in a community experience and allowed the organizers to use his property for a fee $ 50,000. He even came out once to address the crowd (above) and congratulated them on the rally. It was said that he received as much applause as Jimi Hendrix.
. 3 Woodstock was not meant to be a free concert.
The mounting of Woodstock was not intended as an altruistic undertaking. Kornfeld, Rosenman, Roberts and Lang paid for talent, production costs, Yasgur's location and other issues hoping to benefit from ticket sales. One day admission was $ 7; Participation in all three events (which lasted until early Monday morning due to rain and technical delays) was $ 18. But when people showed up at Bethel days before the planned start, the infrastructure was still incomplete. Fences had to be built and ticket offices had to be set up. Since it was virtually impossible to avert the masses, the partners decided to make it a free event for people who had not yet bought any of the 100,000 tickets that were already in advance. Of the 400,000 or so participants, 300,000 never received an admission fee. (The total number of participants would probably have been higher if the traffic had not been taken care of.) Some people have traveled miles to the site.)
Costs led partners to find a deficit. Two of them – Kornfeld and Lang – sold their stake in Woodstock Ventures, the company they had founded to hold the concert. Roberts and Rosenman eventually achieved a modest gain after other revenue sources such as the 1970 Concert film Woodstock were scored.
. 4 Many cows were present.
Yasgur's farm was a functioning business location, meaning that the incoming crowds displaced the livestock that was normally present on the site. His workers tried to get them into a fenced area, but so many people were running over the barrier and setting campsites that they decided to just run the cows around and mingle with the participants. One of Yasgur's co-workers, George Peavey, told United Press International that cows and music fans "get along well."
. 5 Jimi Hendrix got $ 18,000 to perform.
Booking Big Name Acts was not cheap. Jimi Hendrix was Woodstock's highest-paid performer, earning $ 18,000 (about $ 125,000 in 2019, which explains inflation). Creedence Clearwater Revival, the first booked act, received $ 10,000. The Who received $ 6250 (though they received $ 11,200, according to another report), and Joe Cocker earned a relatively meager $ 1,375. Sha Na Na received $ 750, while Quill at $ 375 was the cheapest.
. 6 Woodstock's musical performances had to be flown by helicopter.
The traffic that led to the event was so terrible that Sweetwater, who was due to open the festival, did not have his planned start. (Richie Havens continued instead.) The band was flown by helicopter to the site for second place. A number of other artists also traveled by plane to avoid traffic problems.
. 7 The audience of Woodstock was actually very good.
Despite Wallkill and Bethel's concerns about the expected misconduct of the participants, there were virtually no reports of violence at the festival. When those present used phones to take long-distance calls home, the local telephone exchanges were amazed that they all said "thank you." Lou Yank, the police chief at nearby Monticello, declared her "the most polite, considerate, and brave group of children I've ever interacted with during my 24-year police work." The only real inadequacy was the result of food shortages in concessions, which caused some participants to plunder nearby farmland for corn and crops.
Although it is possible that the prosecution could have arrested many, many people for marijuana possession, they decided against it. As a sergeant from the state police said, "there would not be enough room in Sullivan County or the next three counties to accommodate them."
. 8 Even the ice had acid.
Woodstock has a well-deserved reputation for being a journey in many ways. Drug use was omnipresent and seemed inevitable. In 2009, the Who's John Entwistle Billboard reported that he had decided to drink bourbon and coke, and realized that someone had acidified the ice cream. It was estimated that the consumption of psychedelics on the first night of the festival led to 25 "freak-outs" every hour. Paramedics and members of a community known as Hog Farm sat with the participants until the drugs had subsided.
. 9 The Who's Set was crashed by Abbie Hoffman.
British rock band The Who performed on the second day of the festival when political activist Abbie Hoffman (who co-founded the Youth International Party last year to protest against Vietnam) was interrupted War) rushed to the stage to protest the imprisonment of the White Panther party leader, John Sinclair. Pete Townshend brandished Hoffman with his guitar and led him off the stage. It was probably worth the effort when Townshend later said he believed her performance boosted the sale of her Tommy album
. 10. Between the individual actions there were announcements of the public service.
In an era before mobile phones, trying to communicate with friends in a sea of people was a challenge. To deliver important news, a production worker, Edward "Chip" Monck (seriously), went to the microphone to make announcements to alert the crowd to unsupervised children, or to alert people where they could find help. "Kenny Irwin, please go to the information center for your insulin," he said. "Paul Andrews, Mike needs his pills and will meet you where he did yesterday." In the above video you can also hear someone – possibly Monck – warning the crowd about a potentially harmful "brown acid" that is making the rounds.
. 11 The original Woodstock site is now listed in the National Register of Historic Sites.
The concert site was incorporated into the National Register of Historic Sites in 2017. The farm is now known as the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. It contains a campus, a museum and an amphitheater with 15,000 seats. The site hosts a series of 50th Anniversary events on the weekend of 16, 17 and 18, 2019, including performances by Ringo Starr and the original Woodstock acts Arlo Guthrie and Carlos Santana.
12th Even the garbage had a message.
Woodstock's pacifist sentiment expanded upon the extensive clean-up required after the crowd began to disband on Monday, August 18, 1969, after Hendrix's final performance. When Hendrix was done, a crew set about picking up the considerable garbage left behind. Co-promoter Michael Lang, who surveyed the concert site by helicopter, noticed that the workers had begun to shovel the garbage into formation. It appeared a peace symbol, which is composed of the left behind litter.