Aug 16, 2009

40 years later - Remembering Woodstock

Woodstock took place at a time when the divide between "straight" society and the so-called counter-culture were at their deepest.

By 1969, anti-hippie hysteria had reached epidemic proportions, with one town dignitary describing the typical hippie as "a creature full of communicable diseases who speaks an illiterate language." At best, they were thought of as unwashed commune dwellers.

The Rock Festival was intended to be held in Woodstock but was relocate to the hamlet of Bethel, 60 miles away. The Woodstock name stuck even though the town turned the festival away. Was it because the name Woodstock had a more intriguing ring than Bethel?

Third photo above shows Joe Cocker performing at Woodstock.

More than 185,000 people bought tickets for Woodstock, and it was only when hundreds of thousands more began amassing at the perimeter that the fences were torn down and the festival declared as free.

The actual attendance was estimated at about 500,000.

Many rock stars performed at the festival including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin (pictured) and the Santana blues band. Noticeably absent were Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and the Doors.

Within fourteen months of the Woodstock festival, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendricks were both dead as the result of drug use.

Traffic coming to the site was backed up for more than 50 miles. Attendees often just left their cars in the middle of the road and walked the rest of the way as shown above.

Some performers had to be flown to the site on Army helicopters.