By: AnnMarie Scaramuzzino
In the summer of 1969, four young men had a simple idea – to throw a weekend music festival in New York.
400,000 music-loving hippies would end up attending the festival, and some of the most famous music performances and moments in history would ensue.
In a decade of war, assassination, and some serious cultural changes, attendees were able to forget it all, if just for a few days.
This weekend event was called Woodstock, and it is considered the most celebrated music festival of all time.
But the festival certainly did not go off without a hitch; lack of funds and no location nearly prevented this symbolic occasion from occurring.
Just weeks beforehand, a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur stepped in and offered his 600-acre farm in Bethel, New York; an act that saved the festival.
And as the number of confirmed guests continued to grow, they decided to scrap the idea of ticket sales and the event was declared free.
The massive amount of people also caused there to be food and bathroom shortages, security issues and blocked off highways. However, the music seemed a good antidote for these somewhat troublesome setbacks.
The event featured iconic performances from some of rock’s finest, including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Santana, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and The Who.
Woodstock ended up extending all the way into Monday, with more sex, drugs, Rock and Roll and mud than any festival to date.
Though recreation of the festival has been attempted, once in 1994 and again in 1999, nothing has measured up to those original four momentous days in August of 1969.
Woodstock capped an incredibly progressive decade, and 44 years later, society is still feeling its impact.
In honor of Woodstock’s anniversary, here are some fun facts about the weekend that changed Rock and Roll:
- The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and The Doors, were some of the major bands who declined to play at Woodstock.
- Woodstock was not actually played in Woodstock, NY; it was in Bethel, NY on a dairy farm.
- For the weekend, Bethel became the third largest city in New York.
- Hendrix’s version of the “Star Spangled Banner” was later described as the “the single greatest moment of the sixties”.
Check out some of Woodstock’s most iconic performances below and tell us – were you there?