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Where to be it held? (Hint: no Woodstock) Who practically got electrocuted? and why go so few people view Hendrix?
The wood storm Festival was among the most far-reaching music festivals of every time — but not everyone realized it in ~ the time. (audioeditorfree.com)
It to be a concert that was supposed to attract 50,000 world — yet in a solitary weekend, wood storm attracted an ext than 400,000 and ended up being one of the most essential concerts of all time.
A music fan at Woodstock popular music festival in his car covered in anti-war slogans for love and also peace. (Three Lions/Getty Images)
For music lovers it to be a collection of some of the best musicians of the time; for tranquility activists it was a meeting place for like minds; for illicit medicine enthusiasts it was a place to experiment; because that the neighbors it to be a large headache; and also for the organizers it to be both a dream and also a nightmare.
This weekend clues the 50th anniversary the that famous — and infamous — concert, so to mark the occasion, we've gathered a flurry the facts.
Where was it in reality held? (Hint: not in Woodstock.) who was the farmer who shared his land? exactly how did a member that the thankful Dead practically get electrocuted? and also why did many of the crowd miss out on Jimi Hendrix's set?
The festival to be the brainchild of money-minded entrepreneurs
Woodstock could be connected with peace and also love, however the idea originated with brand-new York entrepreneurs john P. Roberts and also Joel Rosenman. The investor were approached by music promoters Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld, who hoped come open a record studio in Woodstock, N.Y. — a favourite area for top recording artists including Bob Dylan and also the Band. Instead, Rosenman and Roberts said an out concert featuring those artists.
"Joel and I had actually never done any kind of of this before," said Roberts in the brand-new PBS documentary Woodstock. "But because of ticket sales we in reality felt that we were going to rotate a profit."
It wasn't held in Woodstock
Despite that name, the music festival wasn't actually organized in Woodstock, N.Y. Originally it was supposed to take place at a 300-acre industrial park in Wallkill, N.Y., but locals opposed the occasion and, ~ having given the festival initial approval, the town officials refused to worry a permit, saying they to be ill-equipped to accommodate 50,000 people. The event finished up happening in Bethel, N.Y., roughly 70 kilometer southwest the Woodstock.
It taken place on a dairy products farm
The festival was organized on a farm owned by Max Yasgur, who flourished up the kid of Russian Jewish immigrants and also studied actual estate legislation at new York University, then began a dairy farm, which prospered to end up being the biggest in the region. Before his death in 1973, Yasgur never ever revealed precisely how lot he to be paid for sharing hundreds of acres of land the weekend; yet according come the brand-new York Times, festival sponsors pegged the price in ~ $50,000. (Others have said it to be closer come $10,000.)
The neighbors were none also pleased
Needless come say, not anyone was happy the 400,000 world descended top top the rural farming community of Bethel, which had actually a population of simply 2,366. According to a 1969 new York Times write-up titled "Farmer through Soul," Yasgur received threatening phone calls and messages from neighbours angry around the numerous cars clogging the roads and also the world flowing onto their properties. Indicators in the town dubbed for a boycott, reading, "Stop Max's Hippie Music Festival. No 150,000 hippies here. To buy no milk."
The festival had a pair of various names
Say words "Woodstock" today and people know precisely what you're talking about — but at the time, the festival was also referred to as the Bethel absent Festival and the Aquarian Music Festival. (Somehow "I to be at Bethel" doesn't have quite the same ring.)
Creedence Clearwater revival was the very first act to officially sign
Creedence Clearwater revival was reportedly the very first musical plot to authorize a contract because that the event, for about $10,000 — around $70,000 today. "Once Creedence signed, everyone else jumped in line and also all the other large acts came on," stated drummer Doug Clifford in an interview. The next acts to sign on the dotted line to be Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker and Ten year After.
Organizers weren't prepared in time
When the festival got the boots from the city of Walkill, organizers had actually just 29 job to discover a new site and also get every little thing ready. "The thing is the it to be such a short time," said Woodstock bright designer Chip Monck, that doubled as the weekend's emcee, in a Houston Chronicle interview in 2009.
"It was particularly an overwhelming to try and re-create what we had in design. And obviously, as you know, no ticket booths, no fences, no staging roof, no capability to hang the light show, no capacity to cave the 650,000 watt that to be underneath the stage, no ability to develop a certain barrier, which was a great help in a strange way. Numerous things were missing."
Advance tickets expense $6 to $18 — and then nothing
Tickets for a day pass were $6, and also $18 for the weekend — roughly $42 come $126 today. But with the website unsecured, and thousands of world flooding in from every directions, the promoters had actually little an option but to give up on make the efforts to collection ticket money and they made the event free.
"I think it to be Tuesday. The building foreman speak us, 'We don't have sufficient time to end up everything. For this reason which would you prefer to have us finish: the gates and also the fences, or the stage? we don't have sufficient men and also material to do both,'" remembered Rosenman in the PBS doc Woodstock.
"I mental thinking, if we don't have gates and also fences, then we're no going to collect tickets. We'll be bankrupt. And also if we don't have a phase we'll it is in in jail because there will be a hundreds thousand youngsters running around with naught to perform for 3 days," he said. "So that was the answer."
Hundreds of thousands of people showed up
Organizers expected roughly 50,000 attendees, but much more than 400,000 descended on the site; some approximates are as high together 500,000. Through 9 p.m. ~ above the Thursday night, web traffic was currently snaking 11 miles and was four cars wide. "That doesn't permit for too plenty of lanes that automobiles," review the brand-new York Post, "but then how bad could Mike Lang feel to be grounding in a website traffic jam as soon as every auto that obtained past his happy face was in reality headed because that his pocket?"
Some of the biggest bands stated no
Dozens the bands stated yes, but some the the greatest bands indigenous the time said no, among them Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Bob Dylan, Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa, and also of course, the Beatles.
The artist lineup to be incredible
Most human being know the huge artists that played wooden storm — Santana, CCR, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix to surname a few — but 34 acts were on the bill. The Friday lineup contained Richie Havens, Swami Satchidananda, Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Melanie Safka, Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez. Saturday to be Quill, nation Joe McDonald, Santana, man B. Sebastian, the Keef Hartley Band, the significant String Band, canned Heat, Mountain, grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, sly & the household Stone, the Who and also Jefferson Airplane. Sunday had the Grease Band; Joe Cocker; nation Joe and the Fish; Ten year After; the Band; Johnny Winter; Blood, Sweat & Tears; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Sha Na Na; and Jimi Hendrix. Since of the many delays, however, the show went far, much off schedule.
CCR finished up feeling miffed
Credence Clearwater rebirth experienced large travel delays, climate didn't acquire to play till sometime in between 1 and 3 a.m. Sunday morning since the thankful Dead walk on also long, i beg your pardon left a bitter taste in the band's mouth — to the point where lead male John Fogerty refused to allow their set to be had in the original Woodstock documentary. "We complied with The grateful Dead and it was aggravating. They went method over their allotted time. Everybody needs to sort of play ball," recounted Clifford in one interview. "It to be a mix of plenty of things. There was destructive weather. It was raining and I don't think the stage was covered. Things obtained wet, the electronics got wet therefore there were those type of problems. However I think us did a really good job with our performance versus those kinds of circumstances." Fifty years later, CCR lastly released one anniversary album featuring their memorable set.
Joni Mitchell wasn't there
One that Joni Mitchell's most famous songs is Woodstock, i m sorry is composed in an initial person and describes the endure of traveling there. "By the time we got to wood storm / we were fifty percent a million solid / and everywhere there to be song and also celebration," she sings. Only thing was, Mitchell didn't carry out at wooden storm or even attend. (Her manager believed it would certainly be much more advantageous come play The dick Cavett Show.)
Rather, she was influenced by what she then-boyfriend Graham Nash called her about the experience, and also composed the track in a new York hotel room after watching clip of the event on TV. The song additionally became a hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash and also Young.
The sound to be excellent
Outdoor festivals have the right to be a nightmare sound-wise, yet pioneering audio engineer bill Hanley devised a practice sound setup that ended up being known together the "Woodstock sound system" — one that some stated was the many advanced, many expensive and largest ever constructed. Hanley's mechanism took full benefit of the field's bowl shape, and involved custom speaker columns it is provided by an ext than 10,000 watts of McIntosh tube strength amplifiers.
"We constructed two speaker towers every of which had two levels containing its own speaker cluster," psychic Hanley in an interview. "The greatest one to be 70 feet high to accommodate the audience in the center of the field and high increase on the hill. The shortest one, in ~ 20 feet, to be for the audience nearest come the stage. There were 4 cabinets arrayed on both towers on each level, i m sorry had about 32 woofers each." (You have the right to find much more on the audio setup here.)
The stage was wet, and also the electricity was coming through me. Ns was conducting! emotional my guitar and also the microphone was virtually fatal. There to be a an excellent big blue spark around the size of a baseball, and I obtained lifted turn off my feet and sent earlier eight or 10 feet to mine amplifier.- thankful Dead guitarist Bob Weir The thankful Dead's collection was electrifying — literally
By the time the thankful Dead took the stage on Saturday night, the was pouring rain — i m sorry did no make because that a good mix v the electrical instruments.
"It was raining toads as soon as we played," mental guitarist Bob Weir in rojo Stone. "The rain was part of our nightmare. The other component was ours sound man, who chose that the ground case on the phase was every wrong. It took him about two hours to adjust it, which held up the show.
"He lastly got it set the way he want it, but every time ns touched mine instrument, I acquired a shock. The stage was wet, and the power was coming with me. Ns was conducting! emotional my guitar and the microphone was almost fatal. There to be a great big blue spark around the size of a baseball, and I acquired lifted off my feet and also sent earlier eight or 10 feet to my amplifier."
Janis Joplin's guitarist to be from Stratford, Ont.
Just weeks prior to Woodstock, Stratford-born guitarist john Till join Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band, and says the toughest thing around the festival was the non-stop waiting. "We to be all all set to walk on when we were an alleged to it is in going on," stated Till in a Toronto Star interview. "So everyone did everything they had actually to perform to obtain ready, yet then there was the letdown of no going on." "I think we come out the various other side that our getting all jacked up and also excited and also getting ready to run out there and also do our thing. We kind of allow the air out of the tires. So when we go on two hours after we were an alleged to, ns don't think we had as much energy as we would've in ~ the reserved time. But it to be a job. You just do the best you can," claimed Till, that didn't establish the event was noteworthy until later.
"I had no idea it was going to take on the aura or its ar in background that the did."
I had no idea it to be going to take it on the aura or its ar in background that it did.- man Till, Canadian guitarist because that Janis Joplin
It wasn't an alleged to be political
Woodstock followed soon after ~ the assassinations the Dr. Young name Luther King Jr. And also anti-war brand-new York senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the Vietnam War ongoing to fury — but organizer Michael Lang didn't want the festival to it is in overtly political.
"Politics would not be part of the on stage proceedings," Lang wrote. "It to be the place where art and commerce can coexist, where opposing ideas could coexist, where our mankind would come an initial and our distinctions would just add color. Elements of the festival to be deeply grounded in the underground movement, however the focus would stay peace and also music." The grateful Dead's Bob Weir agreed. "When i heard Pete Townshend had actually kicked Abbie Hoffman turn off the stage, i was delighted, due to the fact that I have always thought that rock and radical national politics are a poor mix. I've always felt the the politicians need to leave united state the hell alone," he stated in rolling Stone.
"Basically, the was simply a music celebration, a music event. There to be those that tried to check out a deeper definition and draw conclusions, yet I don't think anyone visited Woodstock to make a statement. They went to party and hear an excellent music. Or probably I just slept through all the politics significance."
Food because that Love acquired torched
These days, large festivals have actually food organization down come a good science, and also vendors know precisely how to set up shop in far locales, yet in out fests to be a relatively brand-new phenomenon and big food sellers said that Woodstock to be too complicated a task. Festival organizers ultimately hired a three guys with little food experience who dubbed themselves Food for Love. Unfortunately, lines to be long, and as provides dwindled, Food for Love jacked up their prices — so lot that warm dogs apparently jumped from $.25 to $1 apiece — and, frustrated by the long waits and also the high prices, people burned down 2 of the concession stands.
The following morning, Wavy Gravy test to patience the situation. "There's a guy up over there — part hamburger male — that had his stand shed down last night," he said. "But he's still obtained a tiny stuff left, and for you people that still believe capitalism isn't the weird, friend might aid him out and also buy a pair hamburgers."
There's a man up there — some hamburger male — that had actually his stand melted down last night. However he's still acquired a small stuff left, and also for you people that still think capitalism isn't the weird, girlfriend might aid him out and also buy a pair hamburgers.- Wavy Gravy, whose team the Hog Farm cumulative helped to feed people at wooden storm But rather stepped in to feed the crowd
Locals heard around the food shortages and also famously stepped in with thousands of food donations that were airlifted come the site, including thousands that sandwiches, fruit, crate items and also water.
According to the Smithsonian, Wavy Gravy's group, the Hog farm yard Collective, additionally stepped in to help, offer brown rice, vegetables, and also granola.
"What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000! currently it's going to be good food and also we're walking to obtain it to you," he said. "We're all feeding every other."
The farm yard owner additionally chipped in
Max Yasgur also chipped in to help, giving concertgoers through milk, cheese and also butter, occasionally at cost but often for free. A relative likewise arrived with a auto filled v loaves of bread come go through the cheese and also butter.
After hearing that some residents were selling water to young world at the festival, Yasgur to be furious and also put a huge sign top top his barn that review "Free Water."
"How have the right to anyone ask for money for water?" that asked.
There weren't almost enough toilets
Because organizers had actually no idea that nearly half a million people would show up, castle didn't have virtually enough toilets. In fact, over there were just 600 — around one for every 700 people. Follow to customer Reports, a full house at new York's Yankee stadion is about 52,000, and also they have actually 843 toilets, or one for every 62 fans. "Every time world would acquire up and clap, fifty percent a million people were moving in closer," one attendee remembered. "So it kept on acquiring tighter and also tighter and tighter. Then it got to the allude where us couldn't walk to the restroom or anything, so human being used to pass each various other
Farmer Max Yasgur acquired a vast introduction
At one point, emcee Chip Monck introduced farmer Max Yasgur come the crowd, which won the meek farmer a large round of applause. "I'm a farmer," the said. "I don't know how to speak to 20 people at one time let alone a crowd choose this. This is the largest team of civilization ever assembled in one location ... but ns think you human being have proven something come the human being — the a fifty percent a million youngsters can obtain together and also have three days of fun and also music and have nothing however fun and music!" supposedly a pro-war, law-and-order Republican, Yasgur became teary. "And ns God bless you for it!"
Monck warned people about bad drugs
In films about Woodstock, friend can also see Monck do announcements around the weather, around safety — throughout a storm that implores people to gain down indigenous the towers castle climbed since of the electric danger — and around bad drugs. "The brown acid that is circulating approximately us isn't also good. It is argued that you stay away indigenous that. Of course it's your very own trip. So be my guest, however please be advised that there is a warning on that one, OK?"
Joe Cocker wasn't the sweaty
If friend look in ~ the footage from Joe Cocker's performance, he looks favor he's drenched in sweat; yet really, he had actually just had a vast quantity that water dumped ~ above him. During the heavy rains, the canvas roof end the stage filled v water and also threatened a collapse, therefore the stage techs chose to cut a hole to relax the water.
"Which is in reality a very good way of getting rid water on the roof, other than for the reality that Joe Cocker was directly underneath in the middle of a set. As such he looked like everybody else —
Sha Na Na played before Jimi Hendrix
After one unforgettable and exhausting weekend, that must have felt very odd to wake as much as Sha Na Na, the tongue-in-cheek '50s-styled doo-wop group, singing hits choose Duke that Earl and At the Hop — but they did, and also they did it at approximately 7:30 a.m. Monday, right before Jimi Hendrix take it the stage.
At the time, lock didn't have a document deal, yet their appearance in ~ the festival — and in the wood storm documentary that followed — cemented their career, and even sparked a '50s rebirth that caused Grease, American Graffiti and Happy Days, and also Sha Na Na's self-titled TV show.
Most of the group missed Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix was the critical to execute at the festival, and also by the moment he obtained onstage, it was 8:30 Monday morning and the crowd had actually dwindled indigenous 400,000 to just 30,000. That performed his iconic and also politically sustained version the The Star-Spangled Banner roughly 90 minutes into his two-hour set. There were at least two deaths in spite of the lack of organization, food, and also medical supports, only two people died at the festival — one supposedly from a drug overdose, and also one native a tractor driver accidentally to run over one attendee that was sleeping in a nearby field. There were no reports that violence.
If a half million young people at the Aquarian Festival can turn such adverse conditions — filled with the possibility of disaster, riot, looting and catastrophe — right into three job of music and peace, then perhaps there is hope the if we sign up with them, we can turn those adversities that room the difficulties of American today right into a hope because that a brighter and much more peaceful future.- Max Yasgur, farmer who hosted Woodstock ~ above his floor Farmer Max Yasgur thought about it a resounding success
Dairy farmer Max Yasgur, who owned the land wherein the festival happened, taken into consideration the festival a resounding success, and a victory for peace and also human kindness.
"If a fifty percent million young human being at the Aquarian Festival can turn such adverse problems — filled through the possibility of disaster, riot, looting and also catastrophe — right into three work of music and peace," he said in an interview, "then maybe there is hope the if we sign up with them, we have the right to turn those adversities that space the difficulties of American today right into a hope because that a brighter and an ext peaceful future."
Many have actually tried, yet failed, come recapture the magic the Woodstock
It appears that at every major anniversary, brave concert promoters aim to recapture the magic — yet ultimately, all of the check Woodstock revivals have failed, several of them spectacularly. This year, woodstock 50 was claimed to feature huge names including Jay Z, the Killers, man Fogerty, Miley Cyrus, Robert Plant, Janelle Monáe, the Raconteurs and also others — and also was being led in part by initial Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang — however fell personally in cool fashion after ~ a series of business failures.
"They postponed announcing the tickets, and also I remember analysis a while earlier that lock didn't have some the the permits," john Fogerty stated in an interview through Rolling Stone. "That just blew mine mind. You'd think it would be the first thing you'd do and also not the critical thing. You obtained the feeling there was some shakiness come this whole thing," stated Fogerty.
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"But the very first Woodstock happened more by civilization wishing for it to occur than any effort of good organization."
For an ext on the festival, hear to q Friday because that an interview v Andy Zax, producer that Rhino Records' new 38-CD, 432-track complete Woodstock crate set, Woodstock - earlier To The Garden: The critical 50th Anniversary Archive. Likewise watch Woodstock: 3 Days That readjusted a Generation top top The Passionate Eye Saturday and also Sunday.