Woodstock

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Woodstock
Woodstock poster.jpg
Promotional poster designed by Arnold Skolnick [1]
GenreRock and folk, including
blues rock, folk rock,
jazz fusion, hard rock,
latin rock, psychedelic rock
DatesAugust 15–17, 1969 (scheduled)
August 15–18, 1969 (actual)
Location(s) Bethel, New York
Coordinates 41°42′04″N74°52′48″W / 41.701°N 74.880°W / 41.701; -74.880 Coordinates: 41°42′04″N74°52′48″W / 41.701°N 74.880°W / 41.701; -74.880
Years active1969 (50 years ago)
Founded by Artie Kornfeld
Michael Lang
John P. Roberts
Joel Rosenman
Woodstock Ventures
Attendance400,000 (estimate)
Website www.woodstock.com
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Red pog.svg
Bethel 
Location in the United States
USA New York location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Max Yasgur's 
farm 
Location in New York

Woodstock was a music festival held August 15–18, 1969, at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, [2] 43 miles (70 km) southwest of Woodstock. Billed as "an Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music", it attracted an audience of more than 400,000. [3] [4] [5] [2] It was alternatively referred to as the Bethel Rock Festival or the Aquarian Music Festival. [6] Thirty-two acts performed outdoors despite sporadic rain. [7]

Max Yasgur American farmer who leased land for Woodstock

Max B. Yasgur was an American farmer, best known as the owner of the dairy farm in Bethel, New York, at which the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was held between August 15 and August 18, 1969.

Bethel, New York Town in New York, United States

Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, United States. The population was estimated at 4,255 in 2010.

Woodstock, New York Town in New York, United States

Woodstock is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 5,884 at the 2010 census, down from 6,241 at the 2000 census. Woodstock is in the northern part of the county, northwest of Kingston, and lies within the borders of the Catskill Park.

Contents

The festival has become widely regarded as a pivotal moment in popular music history, as well as a defining event for the "counterculture generation". [8] [9] The event's significance was reinforced by a 1970 documentary film, an accompanying soundtrack album, and a song written by Joni Mitchell that became major hits for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Matthews Southern Comfort. Music events bearing the Woodstock name have been planned for anniversaries including the tenth, twentieth, twenty-fifth, thirtieth, fortieth, and fiftieth. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine listed it as number 19 of the 50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll. [10] In 2017, the festival site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [11]

Counterculture of the 1960s Anti-establishment cultural phenomenon

The counterculture of the 1960s was an anti-establishment cultural phenomenon that developed throughout much of the Western world between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s. The aggregate movement gained momentum as the Civil Rights Movement continued to grow, and, with the expansion of the US government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam, would later become revolutionary. As the 1960s progressed, widespread social tensions also developed concerning other issues, and tended to flow along generational lines regarding human sexuality, women's rights, traditional modes of authority, experimentation with psychoactive drugs, and differing interpretations of the American Dream. Many key movements related to these issues were born or advanced within the counterculture of the 1960s.

<i>Woodstock</i> (film) 1970 documentary film

Woodstock is a 1970 documentary film of the watershed counterculture Woodstock Festival which took place in August 1969 near Bethel, New York. Entertainment Weekly called this film the benchmark of concert movies and one of the most entertaining documentaries ever made.

<i>Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More</i> 1970 live album by various artists

Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More is a live album of selected performances from the 1969 Woodstock counterculture festival. Originally released on Atlantic Records' Cotillion label as a triple album on May 11, 1970, it was re-released as a two-CD set in 1994. Veteran producer Eddie Kramer was the sound engineer during the three-day event.

Planning and preparation

Woodstock was initiated through the efforts of Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, Joel Rosenman, and John P. Roberts. Roberts and Rosenman financed the project. Lang had some experience as a promoter, having co-organized the Miami Pop Festival on the East Coast the prior year, where an estimated 25,000 people attended the two-day event.

Michael Lang (producer) Music concert promoter and record producer

Michael Lang is a concert promoter, producer and artistic manager who is best known as a co-creator of the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969.

Arthur Lawrence Kornfeld is an American musician, record producer, and music executive. He is best known as the music promoter for the Woodstock Festival held in 1969. He is also known for his collaborations with Artie Kaplan.

Joel Rosenman, conceived and co-created the Woodstock Festival in 1969. Rosenman thought of the idea for the three-day concert when he and business partner John Roberts evaluated a recording studio proposal brought forward by Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld. The four went on to create the event; Rosenman and Roberts are the co-authors of Young Men with Unlimited Capital, also published as Making Woodstock, a non-fiction account of their exploits as producers of Woodstock.

Early in 1969, Roberts and Rosenman were New York City entrepreneurs, in the process of building Media Sound, a large audio recording studio complex in Manhattan. Lang and Kornfeld's lawyer, Miles Lourie, who had done legal work on the Media Sound project, suggested that they contact Roberts and Rosenman about financing a similar, but much smaller, studio Kornfeld and Lang hoped to build in Woodstock, New York. Unpersuaded by this Studio-in-the-Woods proposal, Roberts and Rosenman counter-proposed a concert featuring the kind of artists known to frequent the Woodstock area (such as Bob Dylan and The Band). Kornfeld and Lang agreed to the new plan, and Woodstock Ventures was formed in January 1969. [12] The company offices were located in an oddly decorated floor of 47 West 57th Street in Manhattan. Burt Cohen, and his design group, Curtain Call Productions, oversaw the psychedelic transformation of the office. [13]

New York (state) American state

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

Bob Dylan American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, author, and artist

Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, poet, and visual artist who has been a major figure in popular culture for more than fifty years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the civil rights movement and anti-war movement. His lyrics during this period incorporated a wide range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defied pop-music conventions and appealed to the burgeoning counterculture.

The Band Rock band from Toronto

The Band was a Canadian-American roots rock group including Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, Robbie Robertson, and Levon Helm. The members of the Band first came together as rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins's Toronto, Ontario-based backing group, The Hawks, which they joined one by one between 1958 and 1963.

From the start, there were differences in approach among the four: Roberts was disciplined and knew what was needed for the venture to succeed, while the laid-back Lang saw Woodstock as a new, "relaxed" way of bringing entrepreneurs together. [14] When Lang was unable to find a site for the concert, Roberts and Rosenman, growing increasingly concerned, took to the road and eventually came up with a venue. Similar differences about financial discipline made Roberts and Rosenman wonder whether to pull the plug or to continue pumping money into the project. [14]

In April 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival became the first act to sign a contract for the event, agreeing to play for $10,000 (equivalent to $68,000 in 2018 [15] )[ citation needed ]. The promoters had experienced difficulty landing big-name groups prior to Creedence committing to play. Creedence drummer Doug Clifford later commented, "Once Creedence signed, everyone else jumped in line and all the other big acts came on." Given their 3 a.m. start time and omission from the Woodstock film (at Creedence frontman John Fogerty's insistence), Creedence members have expressed bitterness over their experiences regarding the festival. [16]

Creedence Clearwater Revival American roots rock band

Creedence Clearwater Revival was an American rock band active in the late 1960s and early 1970s which consisted of lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and primary songwriter John Fogerty; his brother rhythm guitarist Tom Fogerty; bassist Stu Cook; and drummer Doug Clifford. These members had played together since 1959, first as The Blue Velvets and later as The Golliwogs. Their musical style encompassed roots rock, swamp rock, and blues rock. They played in a Southern rock style, despite their San Francisco Bay Area origin, with lyrics about bayous, catfish, the Mississippi River, and other popular elements of Southern United States iconography, as well as political and socially conscious lyrics about topics including the Vietnam War. The band performed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Upstate New York.

Doug Clifford American musician

Douglas Raymond "Cosmo" Clifford is an American drummer, best known as a founding member of Creedence Clearwater Revival. After the group dissolved in the early 1970s, Douglas Clifford released a solo album and later joined CCR bassist Stu Cook in the Don Harrison Band. In 1995, Douglas Clifford and Stu Cook formed the band Creedence Clearwater Revisited, performing live versions of Creedence Clearwater Revival songs.

Woodstock was designed as a profit-making venture. It became a "free concert" only after the event drew hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for. Tickets for the three-day event cost $18 in advance and $24 at the gate (equivalent to about $120 and $160 today [15] ). Ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a post office box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan. Around 186,000 advance tickets were sold, and the organizers anticipated approximately 200,000 festival-goers would turn up. [17]

Selection of the venue

The original venue plan was for the festival to take place in Wallkill, New York, possibly near the proposed recording studio site owned by Alexander Tapooz. After local residents quickly shot down that idea, Lang and Kornfeld thought they had found another possible location in Saugerties, New York. But they had misunderstood, as the landowner's attorney made clear, in a brief meeting with Roberts and Rosenman. [12] Growing alarmed at the lack of progress, Roberts and Rosenman took over the search for a venue, and discovered the 300-acre (0.47 sq mi; 1.2 km2) Mills Industrial Park ( 41°38′53″N74°10′47″W / 41.648088°N 74.179751°W / 41.648088; -74.179751 ) in the town of Wallkill, New York, which Woodstock Ventures leased for $10,000 (equivalent to $68,000 today) in the Spring of 1969. [18] Town officials were assured that no more than 50,000 would attend. Town residents immediately opposed the project. In early July, the Town Board passed a law requiring a permit for any gathering over 5,000 people. On July 15, 1969, the Wallkill Zoning Board of Appeals officially banned the concert on the basis that the planned portable toilets would not meet town code. [19] Reports of the ban, however, turned out to be a publicity bonanza for the festival. [20]

Max Yasgur's dairy farm in 1968 Yasgur farm in 1968.jpg
Max Yasgur's dairy farm in 1968

In his 2007 book Taking Woodstock , Elliot Tiber relates that he offered to host the event on his 15-acre (650,000 sq ft; 61,000 m2) motel grounds, and had a permit for such an event. He claims to have introduced the promoters to dairy farmer Max Yasgur. [21] Lang, however, disputes Tiber's account and says that Tiber introduced him to a realtor, who drove him to Yasgur's farm without Tiber. Sam Yasgur, Max's son, agrees with Lang's account. [22] Yasgur's land formed a natural bowl sloping down to Filippini Pond on the land's north side. The stage would be set up at the bottom of the hill with Filippini Pond forming a backdrop. The pond would become a popular skinny dipping destination.

The organizers once again told Bethel authorities they expected no more than 50,000 people.

Despite resident opposition and signs proclaiming, "Buy No Milk. Stop Max's Hippy Music Festival", [23] Bethel Town Attorney Frederick W. V. Schadt, building inspector Donald Clark and Town Supervisor Daniel Amatucci approved the festival permits, but the Bethel Town Board refused to issue the permits formally. [24] Clark was ordered to post stop-work orders. [25] Subsequently, on August 2, 1969, the Building Inspector informed Woodstock Ventures, Inc. that the Stop Work Order was lifted, and the festival could proceed pending backing by the Department of Health and Agriculture, and removal of all structures by September 1, 1969. [26]

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 options: one was to complete the fencing and ticket booths, without which the promoters would lose any profit or go into debt; the other option involved putting their remaining available resources into building the stage, without which the promoters feared they would have a disappointed and disgruntled audience. When the audience began arriving by the tens of thousands the next day, the Wednesday before the weekend, the decision was made for them. Those without tickets simply walked through gaps in the fences, and the organizers were forced to make the event free of charge. Though the festival left its promoters nearly bankrupt, their ownership of the film and recording rights more than compensated for the losses after the release of the hit documentary film Woodstock in March 1970. [12]

Festival

Woodstock festival site with the stage Woodstock redmond stage.JPG
Woodstock festival site with the stage
Part of the crowd on the first day of the festival Woodstock redmond crowd.JPG
Part of the crowd on the first day of the festival

The influx of attenders to the rural concert site in Bethel created a massive traffic jam. The town of Bethel did not enforce its codes, fearing chaos as the crowd flowed to the site. [19] Eventually, radio and television descriptions of the traffic jams discouraged people from setting off to the festival. [27] [28] Arlo Guthrie made an announcement that was included in the film saying that the New York State Thruway was closed, [29] although the director of the Woodstock museum said that this closure never occurred. [30] To add to the problems and difficulty in dealing with the large crowds, recent rains had caused muddy roads and fields. The facilities were not equipped to provide sanitation or first aid for the number of people attending; hundreds of thousands found themselves in a struggle against bad weather, food shortages, and poor sanitation. [31]

On the morning of Sunday, August 17, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller called festival organizer John P. Roberts and told him that he was thinking of ordering 10,000 National Guard troops to the festival, but Roberts persuaded him not to. Sullivan County declared a state of emergency. [27] During the festival, personnel from nearby Stewart Air Force Base helped ensure order and air-lifted performers in and out of the concert site. [32]

Jimi Hendrix was the last to perform at the festival, and he took the stage at 8:30 Monday morning due to delays caused by the rain. The audience had peaked at an estimated 400,000 during the festival but was reduced to about 30,000 by that point; many of them merely waited to catch a glimpse of him, then left during his performance. [33]

Hendrix and his new band Gypsy Sun and Rainbows were introduced as The Experience, but he corrected this and added: "You could call us a Band of Gypsies". [34] :270 They performed a two-hour set, including his psychedelic rendition of the national anthem. The song became "part of the sixties Zeitgeist" as it was captured in the Woodstock film. [34] :272

We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn ... there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud. And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, "Don't worry about it, John. We're with you." I played the rest of the show for that guy.

John Fogerty recalling Creedence Clearwater Revival's 3:30 a.m. start time at Woodstock [16]

The festival was remarkably peaceful given the number of people and the conditions involved, although there were two recorded fatalities, one from insulin usage and another caused when a tractor ran over someone sleeping in a nearby hayfield. There also were two births recorded at the event, one in a car caught in traffic and another in a hospital after an airlift by helicopter; there were four miscarriages. [35]

Max Yasgur owned the site of the event, and he spoke of how nearly half a million people spent the three days with music and peace on their minds. He stated, "If we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future." [14]

Sound

Joe Cocker performs in front of huge lighting- and soundtowers Woodstock Music and Art Fair.jpg
Joe Cocker performs in front of huge lighting- and soundtowers

Sound for the concert was engineered by sound engineer Bill Hanley. "It worked very well," he says of the event. "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." [36] ALTEC designed marine plywood cabinets that weighed half a ton apiece and stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, almost 4 feet (1.2 m) deep, and 3 feet (0.91 m) wide. Each of these enclosures carried four 15-inch (380 mm) JBL D140 loudspeakers. The tweeters consisted of 4×2-Cell & 2×10-Cell Altec Horns. Behind the stage were three transformers providing 2,000 amperes of current to power the amplification setup. [37] For many years this system was collectively referred to as the Woodstock Bins. [38]

Lighting

Lighting for the concert was engineered by lighting designer and technical director E.H. Beresford "Chip" Monck. Monck was hired to plan and build the staging and lighting, ten weeks of work for which he was paid $7,000 (equivalent to $48,000 today). Much of his plan had to be scrapped when the promoters were not allowed to use the original location in Wallkill, New York. The stage roof that was constructed in the shorter time available was not able to support the lighting that had been rented, which wound up sitting unused underneath the stage. The only light on the stage was from spotlights. [39]

Monck used twelve 1300 Watt Super Trouper-follow spots rigged on four towers around the stage. The follow spots weighed 600 pounds (270 kg) each and were operated by spotlight operators who had to climb up on the top of the 60-foot-high (18 m) lighting towers. [40]

Monck also was drafted just before the concert started as the master of ceremonies when Michael Lang noticed that they had forgotten to hire one. He can be heard and seen in recordings of Woodstock making the stage announcements, including requests to "stay off the towers" and the warning about the "brown acid". [39]

Performing artists

Thirty-two acts performed over the course of the four days: [41]

Friday, August 15 – Saturday, August 16
ArtistTimeNotes
Richie Havens 5:07 pm – 7:00 pm[ citation needed ]Was moved up to the opening performance slot after Sweetwater were stopped by police en route to the festival and other artists were delayed on the freeway.
Swami Satchidananda 7:10 pm – 7:20 pm[ citation needed ]Gave the opening speech/invocation for the festival. [42]
Sweetwater 7:30 pm – 8:10 pm[ citation needed ]
Bert Sommer 8:30 pm – 9:15 pm[ citation needed ]Received the festival's first standing ovation after his performance of Simon and Garfunkel's "America”.
Tim Hardin 9:20 pm – 9:45 pm[ citation needed ]
Ravi Shankar 10:20 pm – 10:35 pm[ citation needed ]Played through the rain.
Melanie 11:20 pm – 11:20 pm[ citation needed ]Sent onstage for an unscheduled performance after the Incredible String Band declined to perform during the rainstorm. Called back for two encores.
Arlo Guthrie 11:55 pm – 12:25 am[ citation needed ]
Joan Baez 12:55 am – 2:00 am[ citation needed ]Was six months pregnant at the time.
Saturday, August 16 – Sunday, August 17
ArtistTimeNotes
Quill 12:30 pm – 12:45 pm[ citation needed ]
Country Joe McDonald 1:20 pm – 1:30 pm[ citation needed ]Brought in for an unscheduled emergency solo performance when Santana were not yet ready to take the stage. Joe performed again with The Fish the following day.
Santana 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm[ citation needed ]Aged 20, [43] Michael Shrieve, the band's drummer, was the youngest musician to play at the festival. [44]
John Sebastian 3:30 pm – 3:55 pm[ citation needed ]Sebastian was not on the bill, but rather was attending the festival, and was recruited to perform while the promoters waited for many of the scheduled performers to arrive.
Keef Hartley Band 4:45 pm – 5:30 pm[ citation needed ]
The Incredible String Band 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm[ citation needed ]Originally slated to perform on the first day following Ravi Shankar; declined to perform during the rainstorm and were moved to the second day.
Canned Heat 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm[ citation needed ]
Mountain 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm[ citation needed ]This performance was only their third gig as a band [45]
Grateful Dead 10:30 pm – 12:05 am[ citation needed ]Their set ended after a fifty-minute version of "Turn On Your Love Light".
Creedence Clearwater Revival 12:30 am – 1:20 am[ citation needed ]
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band [46] 2:00 am – 3:00 am[ citation needed ]
Sly and the Family Stone 3:30 am – 4:20 am[ citation needed ]
The Who 5:00 am – 6:05 am[ citation needed ]Briefly interrupted by Abbie Hoffman. [47]
Jefferson Airplane 8:00 am – 9:40 am[ citation needed ]Joined onstage on piano by Nicky Hopkins.
Sunday, August 17 – Monday, August 18
ArtistTimeNotes
Joe Cocker and The Grease Band 2:00 pm – 3:25 pm[ citation needed ]Played "With a Little Help From My Friends". [48] After Joe Cocker's set, a thunderstorm disrupted the events for several hours.
Country Joe and the Fish 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm[ citation needed ]Country Joe McDonald's second performance.
Ten Years After 8:15 pm – 9:15 pm[ citation needed ]
The Band 10:00 pm – 10:50 pm[ citation needed ]Called back for an encore.
Johnny Winter Midnight – 1:05 am[ citation needed ]Winter's brother, Edgar Winter, is featured on three songs. Called back for an encore.
Blood, Sweat & Tears 1:30 am – 2:30 am[ citation needed ]
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 3:00 am – 4:00 am[ citation needed ]An acoustic and electric set were played. Neil Young skipped most of the acoustic set.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band 6:00 am – 6:45 am[ citation needed ]
Sha Na Na 7:30 am – 8:00 am[ citation needed ]
Jimi Hendrix / Gypsy Sun & Rainbows9:00 am – 11:10 am[ citation needed ]Performed to a considerably smaller crowd of fewer than 200,000 people. [49]

Declined invitations or missed connections

Media coverage

Magazine advertisement promoting the Woodstock Music & Art Fair's "Aquarian Exposition," to be held in Wallkill, NY. 6908-woodstock-ad.jpg
Magazine advertisement promoting the Woodstock Music & Art Fair's "Aquarian Exposition," to be held in Wallkill, NY.

Very few reporters from outside the immediate area were on the scene. During the first few days of the festival, national media coverage emphasized the problems. Front-page headlines in the Daily News read "Traffic Uptight at Hippiefest" and "Hippies Mired in a Sea of Mud". The New York Times ran an editorial titled "Nightmare in the Catskills", which read in part, "The dreams of marijuana and rock music that drew 300,000 fans and hippies to the Catskills had little more sanity than the impulses that drive the lemmings to march to their deaths in the sea. They ended in a nightmare of mud and stagnation ... What kind of culture is it that can produce so colossal a mess?" [72] Coverage became more positive by the end of the festival, in part because the parents of concertgoers called the media and told them, based on their children's phone calls, that their reporting was misleading. [27] [73]

The New York Times covered the prelude to the festival and the move from Wallkill to Bethel. [23] Barnard Collier, who reported from the event for The New York Times, asserts that he was pressured by on-duty editors at the paper to write a misleadingly negative article about the event. According to Collier, this led to acrimonious discussions and his threat to refuse to write the article until the paper's executive editor, James Reston, agreed to let him write the article as he saw fit. The eventual article dealt with issues of traffic jams and minor lawbreaking, but went on to emphasize cooperation, generosity, and the good nature of the festival goers. [27] [73] When the festival was over, Collier wrote another article about the exodus of fans from the festival site and the lack of violence at the event. The chief medical officer for the event and several local residents were quoted as praising the festival goers. [35] [74]

Middletown, New York's Times Herald-Record , the only local daily newspaper, editorialized against the law that banned the festival from Wallkill. During the festival a rare Saturday edition was published. The paper had the only phone line running out of the site, and it used a motorcyclist to get stories and pictures from the impassable crowd to the newspaper's office 35 miles (56 km) away in Middletown. [18] [75] [76] [77]

Releases

Films

The documentary film Woodstock , directed by Michael Wadleigh and edited by Thelma Schoonmaker and Martin Scorsese, was released in March 1970. Artie Kornfeld (one of the promoters of the festival) went to Fred Weintraub, an executive at Warner Bros., and asked for money to film the festival. Artie had been turned down everywhere else, but against the express wishes of other Warner Bros. executives, Weintraub put his job on the line and gave Kornfeld $100,000 (equivalent to $680,000 today) to make the film. Woodstock helped to save Warner Bros at a time when the company was on the verge of going out of business. The book Easy Riders, Raging Bulls details the making of the film.

Wadleigh rounded up a crew of about 100 from the New York film scene. With no money to pay the crew, he agreed to a double-or-nothing scheme, in which the crew would receive double pay if the film succeeded and nothing if it bombed. Wadleigh strove to make the film as much about the hippies as the music, listening to their feelings about compelling events contemporaneous with the festival (such as the Vietnam War), as well as the views of the townspeople. [78]

Woodstock received the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. [79] In 1996, the film was inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry. In 1994, Woodstock: The Director's Cut was released and expanded to include Janis Joplin as well as additional performances by Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, and Canned Heat not seen in the original version of the film. In 2009, the expanded 40th Anniversary Edition was released on DVD. This release marks the film's first availability on Blu-ray disc.

Another film on Woodstock named Taking Woodstock was produced in 2009 by Taiwanese American filmmaker Ang Lee. [80] Lee practically rented out the entire town of New Lebanon, New York, to shoot the film. He was initially concerned with angering the locals, but they ended up being very welcoming and willing to help with the film. [81] The movie is based on Elliot Tiber, played by Demetri Martin, and his role in bringing Woodstock to Bethel, New York. The film also stars Jonathan Groff as Michael Lang and Henry Goodman and Imelda Staunton as Jake and Sonia Teichberg. [82]

Albums

Soundtrack albums and 25th anniversary releases

Two soundtrack albums were released. The first, Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More , was a 3-LP (later 2-CD) album containing a sampling of one or two songs by most of the acts who performed. A year later, Woodstock 2 was released as a 2-LP album. Both albums included recordings of stage announcements (many by Production Coordinator John Morris, e.g., "[We're told] that the brown acid is not specifically too good", "Hey, if you think really hard, maybe we can stop this rain") and crowd noises (i.e., the rain chant) between songs. In August 1994, a third album, Woodstock Diary was released.

Tracks from all three albums, as well as numerous additional, previously unreleased performances from the festival (but not the stage announcements and crowd noises) were reissued by Atlantic, also in August 1994, as a 4-CD box set titled Woodstock: Three Days of Peace and Music .

An album titled Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock was also released in August 1994, featuring only selected recordings of Jimi Hendrix at the festival.

30th anniversary releases

In July 1999, MCA Records released Live at Woodstock , a double-disc recording (longer than Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock) featuring nearly every song of Hendrix's performance, omitting just two pieces that were sung by his rhythm guitarist Larry Lee.

40th anniversary releases

In June 2009, complete performances from Woodstock by Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, and Johnny Winter were released separately by Legacy/SME Records, and were also collected in a box set titled The Woodstock Experience .

In August 2009, Rhino/Atlantic Records issued a 6-CD box set titled Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm , which included further musical performances as well as stage announcements and other ancillary material. [83]

In October 2009, Joe Cocker released Live at Woodstock , a live album of his entire Woodstock set. The album contains eleven tracks, ten of which were previously unreleased.

50th anniversary releases

On 2 August 2019, the Rhino label released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive , a 38-CD, 36-hour, 432-song completists' audio box set of nearly every note played at the original 1969 Woodstock festival (including 276 songs that were previously unreleased), a "CD collection [co-produced for Rhino by archivist Andy Zax] that lays the '69 fest out in chronological order, from the first stage announcements to muddy farewells." The only things missing from this 38-CD edition are two Jimi Hendrix songs that his estate did not believe were up to the required standard and some of Sha Na Na's music that missed being captured on tape. Due to various production and warehousing issues, the release of the box set was delayed dramatically, causing massive backlash and dissatisfaction towards Rhino and Warner Music. More condensed versions—an album on 10 CDs, and an album on either 3 CDs or 5 LPs—were also released. The full version was limited to a run of only 1,969 copies. [84] [85] [86] [87]

Aftermath

Peace and Music Woodstock monument with plaques by sculptor Wayne C. Saward and erected in 1984 on the festival site. (Note that John Sebastian's surname is misspelled as "Sabastian" and Bert Sommer's name is missing) Woodstockpla.jpg
Peace and Music Woodstock monument with plaques by sculptor Wayne C. Saward and erected in 1984 on the festival site. (Note that John Sebastian's surname is misspelled as "Sabastian" and Bert Sommer's name is missing)

Max Yasgur refused to rent out his farm for a 1970 revival of the festival, saying, "As far as I know, I'm going back to running a dairy farm." Yasgur died in 1973. [89]

Bethel voters did not re-elect Supervisor Amatucci in an election held in November 1969 because of his role in bringing the festival to the town, and the upset attributed to some residents. [90] Although accounts vary, the loss was only by a very small margin of between six and fifty votes. [91] New York State and the Town of Bethel also passed mass gathering laws designed to prevent any more festivals from occurring.

In 1984, at the original festival site, land owners Louis Nicky and June Gelish put up a monument marker with plaques called "Peace and Music" by a local sculptor from nearby Bloomingburg, Wayne C. Saward. [92]

Attempts were made to prevent people from visiting the site. Its owners spread chicken manure, and during one anniversary, tractors and state police cars formed roadblocks. Twenty thousand people gathered at the site in 1989 during an impromptu 20th anniversary celebration. In 1997 a community group put up a welcoming sign for visitors. Unlike Bethel, the town of Woodstock made several efforts to capitalize on its connection. Bethel's stance eventually changed and the town began to embrace the festival. Efforts were undertaken to forge a link between Bethel and Woodstock. [93]

Approximately 80 lawsuits were filed against Woodstock Ventures, primarily by farmers in the area. The movie financed settlements and paid off the $1.4 million of debt (equivalent to $9.6 million today) Woodstock Ventures had incurred from the festival. [27]

Legacy

Woodstock site today

Max Yasgur's farm in 1999 Max Yasgurs Farm 2.JPG
Max Yasgur's farm in 1999

In 1984, a plaque was placed at the original site commemorating the festival. [94] The field and the stage area remain preserved in their rural setting and the fields of the Yasgur farm are still visited by people of all generations. [95]

In 1996, the site of the concert and 1,400 acres (2.2 sq mi; 5.7 km2) surrounding was purchased by cable television pioneer Alan Gerry for the purpose of creating the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. [96] The Center opened on July 1, 2006, with a performance by the New York Philharmonic. [97] On August 13, 2006, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young performed before 16,000 fans at the new Center—37 years after their historic performance at Woodstock. [98]

The Museum at Bethel Woods opened on June 2, 2008. [99] The Museum contains film and interactive displays, text panels, and artifacts that explore the unique experience of the Woodstock festival, its significance as the culminating event of a decade of radical cultural transformation, and the legacy of the Sixties and Woodstock today. [99]

Richie Havens' ashes were scattered across the site on August 18, 2013. [100]

In late 2016 New York's State Historic Preservation Office applied to the National Park Service to have 600 acres (0.94 sq mi; 2.4 km2) including the site of the festival and adjacent areas used for campgrounds, all of which still appear mostly as they did in 1969 as they were not redeveloped when Bethel Woods was built, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [101]

Woodstock 40th anniversary

There was worldwide media interest in the 40th anniversary of Woodstock in 2009. [102] A number of activities to commemorate the festival took place around the world. On August 15, at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts overlooking the original site, the largest assembly of Woodstock performing alumni since the original 1969 festival performed in an eight-hour concert in front of a sold-out crowd. Hosted by Country Joe McDonald, the concert featured Big Brother and the Holding Company performing Janis Joplin's hits (she actually appeared with the Kozmic Blues Band at Woodstock, although that band did feature former Big Brother guitarist Sam Andrew), Canned Heat, Ten Years After, Jefferson Starship, Mountain, and the headliners, The Levon Helm Band. At Woodstock, Levon Helm played drums and was one of the lead vocalists with The Band. Paul Kantner was the only member of the 1969 Jefferson Airplane lineup to appear with Jefferson Starship. Tom Constanten, who played keyboard with the Grateful Dead at Woodstock, joined Jefferson Starship on stage for several numbers. Jocko Marcellino from Sha Na Na also appeared, backed up by Canned Heat. [103] Richie Havens, who opened the Woodstock festival in 1969, appeared at a separate event the previous night. [104] Crosby, Stills & Nash and Arlo Guthrie also marked the anniversary with live performances at Bethel earlier in August 2009.

Another event occurred in Hawkhurst, Kent (UK), at a Summer of Love party, with acts including two of the participants at the original Woodstock, Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish and Robin Williamson of The Incredible String Band, plus Santana and Grateful Dead cover bands. [105] On August 14 and 15, 2009, a 40th anniversary tribute concert was held in Woodstock, Illinois, and was the only festival to receive the official blessing of the "Father of Woodstock", Artie Kornfeld. [106] Kornfeld later made an appearance in Woodstock[ clarification needed ] with the event's promoters.

Also in 2009, Michael Lang and Holly George-Warren published The Road to Woodstock , which describes Lang's involvement in the creation of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, and includes personal stories and quotes from central figures involved in the event.

Woodstock 50th anniversary

In May 2014, Michael Lang, one of the producers and organizers of the original Woodstock event, revealed plans for a possible 50th anniversary concert in 2019 and that he was exploring various locations. Reports in late 2018 confirmed the plans for a concurrent 50th Anniversary event on the original site to be operated by the Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts. The scheduled date for the "Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival: Celebrating the golden anniversary at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival" was August 16–18, 2019. Partners in the event are Live Nation and INVNT. Bethel Woods described the festival as a "pan-generational music, culture and community event" (including some live performances and talks by) "leading futurists and retro-tech experts".[ citation needed ]

Michael Lang told a reporter that he also had "definite plans" for a 50th anniversary concert that would "hopefully encourage people to get involved with our lives on the planet" with a goal of re-capturing the "history and essence of what Woodstock was". [107]

On January 9, 2019, Lang announced that the official Woodstock 50th anniversary festival would take place on August 16–18, 2019, in Watkins Glen, NY. [108]

On March 19, 2019, the proposed line-up for Woodstock 50 was announced. This included some artists who performed at the original Woodstock festival in 1969: John Fogerty (from Creedence Clearwater Revival), Carlos Santana (as Santana), David Crosby (from Crosby, Stills & Nash), Melanie, John Sebastian, Country Joe McDonald, three Grateful Dead members (as Dead & Company), Canned Heat, and Hot Tuna (containing members of Jefferson Airplane). [109] The event was to take place at Watkins Glen International, the race track in Watkins Glen, New York, the site in 1973 for the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen which drew an estimated 600,000 people.

On April 29, 2019, it was announced that Woodstock 50 had been cancelled by investors (Dentsu Aegis Network), who had lost faith in its preparations. The producers "vehemently" denied any cancellation, with Michael Lang telling The New York Times that investors have no such prerogative. [110] [111] After a lawsuit with original financiers, the Woodstock 50 team then announced that it had received help from Oppenheimer & Co. for financing so that the three-day event can continue to take place in August despite the original financiers pulling out.

On July 31, 2019, NPR reported that the concert had finally been cancelled. [112]

Local economic impact

Woodstock still acts as an economic engine for the local economy. A Bethel Woods report from 2018 indicates that $560.82 million of spending has been generated in New York. With 2.9 million visitors since 2006 and 214,405 visitors in 2018, an equivalent of 172 full-time jobs exist as a result, which includes direct wages of $5.1 million from Bethel Woods in Sullivan County. [113]

As one of the biggest rock festivals of all time and a cultural touchstone for the late 1960s, Woodstock has been referenced in many different ways in popular culture. The phrase "the Woodstock generation" became part of the common lexicon. [114] Tributes and parodies of the festival began almost as soon as the final chords sounded. Cartoonist Charles Schulz named his recurring Peanuts bird character – which began appearing in 1966 but was still unnamed – Woodstock in tribute to the festival. [115] In April 1970, Mad magazine published a poem by Frank Jacobs and illustrated by Sergio Aragonés titled "I Remember, I Remember The Wondrous Woodstock Music Fair" that parodies the traffic jams and the challenges of getting close enough to actually hear the music. [116] Keith Robertson's 1970 children's book Henry Reed's Big Show has the title character attempting to emulate the success of the festival by mounting his own concert at his uncle's farm.

Melanie Safka's 1970 song, "Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)", recalls the experience of both her Woodstock performance and her participation in the 1969 Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam.

Joni Mitchell's 1970 song, "Woodstock", was written while she viewed news coverage of the festival and, lamenting her decision not to perform there, described it instead.

In 1973, the stage show National Lampoon's Lemmings portrayed the "Woodchuck" festival, featuring parodies of many Woodstock performers. [117]

Time magazine named "The Who at Woodstock – 1969" to the magazine's "Top 10 Music-Festival Moments" list on March 18, 2010. [118]

A Walk on the Moon is a 1999 film set partially at the Woodstock festival.

In 2005, Argentine writer Edgar Brau published Woodstock, a long poem commemorating the festival. An English translation of the poem was published in January 2007 by Words Without Borders. [119]

Taking Woodstock is a 2009 film by director Ang Lee that dramatizes how the festival came together.

In 2017, the singer Lana Del Rey released a song, "Coachella – Woodstock in My Mind," in order to show her worries about the tensions between North Korea and the United States, while she was at Coachella, expressing nostalgia by reminding the Woodstock festival as a symbol of peace. [120]

August 2019: USPS Releases Woodstock Forever Stamp

The United States Postal Service released a forever stamp commemorating the Woodstock's 50th Anniversary. [121] The stamp was designed by Antonio Alcalá, Art Director of the USPS and was first issued at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City on 8 August 2019. [122] The museum was hosting Play it Loud an exhibit co-organized with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame consisting of vintage rock and roll instruments, posters, and costumes. [123] Attending the ceremony were Woodstock producers Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman. The ceremony began with a "stirring" electric guitar performance of The Star Spangled Banner by "Captain" Kirk Douglas of the Roots--"reminiscent" of Jimi Hendrix's performance at original festival. [124]

See also

Related Research Articles

Woodstock 94 music festival

Woodstock '94 was an American music festival held in 1994 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock festival of 1969. It was promoted as "2 More Days of Peace and Music". The poster used to promote the first concert was revised to feature two doves perched on the neck of an electric guitar, instead of the original acoustic one.

Woodstock was a 1969 music festival in Bethel, New York, U.S.

Woodstock '89 or "The Forgotten Woodstock" was a rock concert that took place in August 1989 on the site of the original Woodstock concert of 1969 as a spontaneous celebration of the event's 20th anniversary.

<i>Monterey Pop</i> 1968 rockumentary directed by D. A. Pennebaker

Monterey Pop is a 1968 concert film by D. A. Pennebaker that documents the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967. Among Pennebaker's several camera operators were fellow documentarians Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles. The painter Brice Marden has an "assistant camera" credit, and Bob Neuwirth, who figured prominently in Pennebaker's Bob Dylan documentary Dont Look Back, acted as stage manager. Titles for the film were by the illustrator Tomi Ungerer. Featured performers include Big Brother and the Holding Company with Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Hugh Masekela, Otis Redding, Ravi Shankar, the Mamas & the Papas, the Who and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, whose namesake set his guitar on fire, broke it on the stage, then threw the neck of his guitar in the crowd at the end of "Wild Thing".

Samuel S. Yasgur was an attorney; Sullivan County, New York official; and the son of Max Yasgur, who leased land on his 600 acres (2.4 km2) dairy farm in Bethel, New York for the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in August 1969. Yasgur said that his "consultations with his father" played a crucial role in the concert coming to Bethel. He grew up on his father's farm, and was a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Chicago School of Law.

<i>Woodstock Two</i> 1971 live album by Various artists

Woodstock Two is the second live album released of the 1969 Woodstock Festival concert. The two-LP set contains more material from many acts featured on the first Woodstock album with additional performances from Mountain and Melanie.

<i>Taking Woodstock</i> 2009 American comedy-drama film directed by Ang Lee

Taking Woodstock is a 2009 American comedy-drama film about the Woodstock Festival of 1969, directed by Ang Lee. The screenplay by James Schamus is based on the memoir Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life by Elliot Tiber and Tom Monte.

Elliot Tiber American writer

Elliot Michael Tiber was an artist, professor, and screenwriter who wrote a memoir about the Woodstock Festival held in Bethel, New York in 1969. He claimed responsibility for the relocation of the festival after a permit for it was withdrawn by the zoning board of a nearby town.

John P. Roberts was a businessman who bankrolled the Woodstock Festival. He was the heir to the Polident/Poli-Grip denture adhesive fortune. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Roberts and his friend Joel Rosenman tried to pitch a story for a television series about entrepreneurs who had more money than ideas. Each week their antics would get them into a new series of problems.

Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert and a Life is a memoir describing the origins of the 1969 Woodstock Festival by Elliot Tiber with Tom Monte. It was published in 2007 by Square One Publishers, Inc., and was adapted into a movie of the same name by James Schamus, Ang Lee's long time writing/producing partner. It was released in August 2009. Tiber is portrayed in the movie by Demetri Martin.

Woodstock Sound-Outs or soundouts were mini-festivals held outside Woodstock, NY from 1967 to 1970. They were the brainchild of John "Jocko" Moffitt, a roofer and drummer. He had heard about a number of folk festivals in his native California, and he wanted to stage a rock festival in a country setting. Planning for the event began in 1966 and by the early spring of 1967 performers like Richie Havens were being tentatively booked.

<i>Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgurs Farm</i> 2009 live album by Various artists

Woodstock 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm is a 6-CD live box-set album of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York. Its release marked the 40th Anniversary of the festival.

Woodstock 50 Music festival

Woodstock 50 was a planned American music festival that was scheduled to be held on August 16–18, 2019, at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. The event was intended as a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, a landmark festival that was held on August 15–17, 1969, in Bethel, New York. Just prior to its cancellation, it was announced the event had been reduced from three days to one day. Woodstock 50 was canceled on July 31, 2019, after a series of permit and production issues, venue relocations, and artist cancellations.

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Further reading