Monday, August 15, 2011

This day in history - August 15, 1969: The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival opens

I've been to Woodstock.
Actually, it was about five or six years after "the" Woodstock happened and I was just killing time with a friend on a bit of a day trip. I grew up probably about an hour and a half from where the festival was staged and thought it might be nice to see where it all happened. 

As you can imagine, by the mid-'70s there wasn't much to see. Nice area, though. 

But, between August 15-18, 1969, in the town of Bethel, New York in Sullivan County, about 43 miles southwest of the town of Woodstock, an event billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music" took place at Max Yagur's dairy farm. 

On these three days, 32 acts performed for around 500,000 people, when only between 150,000 and 200,000 were expected. 

Acts included: Richie Havens, Ravi Shankar, Tim Hardin, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian, Santana, Canned Heat, The Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival, Janice Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe and the Fish, Joe Cocker, Ten Years After, The Band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Johnny Winter, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Jimi Hendrix. 

Pretty good lineup. 

The closest I got to Woodstock that weekend was when my father mentioned that he had been on the New York State Thruway and that a whole slew of beat up cars and vans were clogging up the road heading south (probably on August 18th) and they were completely full of mud. 

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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