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Tribute To Woodstock, August 15 - 17, 1969

Updated on September 1, 2016

Planning Woodstock

The Beginnings:

Woodstock was the brainchild of four persons namely: Michael Lang, John Roberts, Joel Rosenman and Artie Kornfield. Michael Lang was a promoter, while John Roberts and Joel Rosenman were entrepreneurs from New York. They had already taken steps to build a big audio recording studio in Manhattan. Michael Lang and Artie Kornfield wanted to build a recording studio in Woodstock New York. Their lawyer persuaded them to meet up with Joel Rosenman and John Roberts with regards to financing a recording studio. Both Rosenman and Roberts did not agree in having a recording studio built in the woods. This was an area were Bob Dylan often went. Their proposal was to have a concert festival. The four of them finally agreed to form a company known as Woodstock in 1969. They got an office in 57th street Manhattan Ave. Their office was fully transformed with psychedelic decorations. This company was formed to make profits.

They Planned To Make Woodstock A Money Making Venture. Instead, They Made History.

The Organizers
The Organizers

They Had To Deal With Different Opinions

They all had differences on how to get this project going. Joel Rosenman even thought of cancelling the whole project. They decided to continue, and when Creedence Clearwater Revival signed a contract for $10,000.00, suddenly all the big time performers wanted to come in. They had problems looking for a place that could accommodate 50,000. After much searching, they were able to find one, but the neighbors complained. The deal did not push through. They were then able to find “Yasgur’s farm”. It was approved by the town’s attorney and building inspector.

Constructing the stage

This became theiir priority
This became theiir priority

Why Woodstock Became a Free Concert

The organizers were all in a rush to push through with the concert. They wanted to finish doing the booths and the fencing, otherwise they would lose money. They had to choose whether to finish building the stage first. In so doing, around 50,000 people were able to get into the concert because there were gaps in the fences. These people camped around near the stage, leaving the organizers in a dilemma. This happened before the weekend of August 15, 1969. The stage had to be done because if not, it would not be well received by the audience. It was a rainy weekend and people had to deal with the muddy roads. There was not enough food, and they had no choice but to make it a free concert.

Map of Woodstock

Woodstock, The Music Festival.

In sum there were around 500,000 people who made it to the concert. People came in droves, most unexpectedly. Still, the concert was peaceful. Some left their vehicles on the road because of the horrendous traffic, and simply walked to the venue. All they wanted to do was express themselves. It was, in a way, a cultural revolution. Call them hippies but as for me they were just ordinary people who wanted to express themselves in whatever way they could. There were some discomforts they had to endure, like the lack of bathrooms and tents. They still enjoyed their love for music and peace. It was almost four days of fun, peace and music. Each band and individual singers played their own kind of music. There was enthusiasm among the people. The crowd just got into the groove and so were all the performers.

The Crowd

five hundred thousand people
five hundred thousand people

The Performers:

1. RIchie Havens

2. Swami Satchidananda

3. Sweetwater

4. Bert Sommer

5. TimHarden

6. Ravi Shankar

7. Melanie Safkal

8. Arlo Guthrie

9. Joan Baez

10. Quill

11. Country Joe McDonald

12. Santana

13. John B. Sebatian

14. Keef Hartley

15 The Incredible String Band

16. Canned Heat

17. Mountain

18. Grateful Dead

19 Creedence Clearwater Revival

20. Janis Joplin

21. Sly and the Family Stone

22. The Who

23. Jefferson Airplane

24. Joe Cocker

25. Country Joe and the Fish

26. Ten Years After

27. The Band

28. Johnny Winter

29. Blood, Sweat and Tears

30. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

31. Paul Butterfield Blues

32. Sha Na Na

33. Jimi Hendrix


The Who

Jimi Hendrix

Victory For Peace

According To Max Yasgur, the owner of the place, this concert was a victory for Peace and Love. He told all the news reporters how a half a million people filled his farm, which could have been a potential disaster, but it was peaceful. There were no riots, no robberies, just people who had peace written all over their minds. His famous statement was that if we joined them we could turn our troubles into a more secure feature.

The Peace Emblem

symbol of peace
symbol of peace

Do You Think Woodstock Was A Success

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Joni Mitchell and The Woodstock Song

During this time Joni Mitchell was in her hotel room in New York City. She saw the excerpts of Woodstock on television. While in her hotel room she wrote the lyrics of “ Woodstock”, the song. It was all about peace and not war. Remember, this was the height of the Vietnam war, and some of her lyrics referred to the war. Woodstock was a song that wanted to expose the beauty of peace and the ugliness of war. Joni’s boyfriend then was Graham Nash. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young released this song in 1971. This song became a counterculture anthem. Infact, the first part of the song comes from the Bible “ Blessed are those who want peace because they will become children of God.” Joni Mitchell was supposed to be in Woodstock. She could not make it because James Taylor, who was supposed to pick her up, had a terrible motorcycle accident on Martha’s Vineyard. He had several broken bones and he could not play the guitar for several months.

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH Woodstock 1971

Woodstock Was Historically Deemed Significant.

Woodstock was made into a documentary film. Fred Weintraub, an executive of Warners Bros. Inc, gave Artie Kornfied $100,000 for the film This film was directed by Michael Waldleigh. He was able to assemble a crew of 100 people. They had no money, but the crew agreed to a double or nothing pay. The film made money and it was just enough to save Warner Bros from going bankrupt. The film Woodstock received The Academy Award for Documentary feature. The festival may have failed to make money, but it revolutionized american culture. The film was deemed culturally significant by the United States Congress in the year 1994. Woodstock, after all of what had happened, got it's due recognition.

In Honor Of Woodstock

commemorative  site
commemorative site

Significance of the Music Festival

From the Boston Globe
From the Boston Globe

Congratulating Woodstock

Woodstock Became Popular Worldwide

Many nations started their own music festivals after woodstock finished. The younger generation wanted the whole world to know what freedom meant and how peace can be attained. What made it well known was the meaning it stood for. This was their way of expressing their emotions. The youth and others who sympathized with them did not like the war that was going on in Vietnam. The popularity of this event spread throughout the world . Here,where i live in the Philippines, it was called the " Antipolo Rock Music Festival. " It was patterned after Woodstock. The event was held on December 5, 1970. It was a nice venue because the site was situated on a hill. Everything started at 4 p.m. and went on until sunrise of the next day. I was a sixteen year old lad at that time. The estimated crowd was ten thousand but you could feel the warmth and love of the people around you. Filipino rock groups played their hearts out. They played Filipino and Western Rock music. All we wanted to say through music was peace.

Antipolo Rock Music Festival in the Philippines

crowd at the music festival
crowd at the music festival


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    • Boomer Music Man profile image

      Boomer Music Man 20 months ago

      grand old lady - You are right, i am also old and i don't want to be in a big crowd. With regards to your question of having a music festival like Woodstock today, I think it is still possible, the concept might be different but the message of peace must remain. Your comment is well appreciated.

    • Boomer Music Man profile image

      Boomer Music Man 20 months ago

      FlourisAnyway - You made a very good analysis. Maybe someone will think of making a music festival like Woodstock. Great idea.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 20 months ago from Philippines

      FlourishAnyway, I think you made a good point. Is it possible to have Woodstock today, half a million people together perfectly peaceful for three days?

      When I was young I loved this kind of stuff, but now that I'm old and grouchy, I hate crowds. I would have probably watched it on TV.

    • Boomer Music Man profile image

      Boomer Music Man 20 months ago

      Thank you FlourishAnyway for such a wonderful review. Kudos and God bless you.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 20 months ago from USA

      I can't imagine being in a music crowd that large for days on end. With all that is going on in our culture today, it makes me wonder whether something like this could happen today. The failure to make a profit probably would nix it early on.