Before the days of Glastonbury and Coachella, the festival scene was dominated by one incredible festival – Woodstock. Woodstock was the perfect balance between culture, art, and music. The festival took place between August 15-18 in 1969 and was the epitome of all things ‘60s. Think hippie counterculture, tie-dye, headbands, and super long hair. But it’s not enough to just read about it, take a look at amazing Woodstock pictures that will make you wish you’d been there…
Peace & Music
The original poster for Woodstock coined it as ‘An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.’ The festival was organized by John Roberts, Michael Lang, Artie Kornfield and Joel Rosenman and tickets were available for $18 – which would be around $120 today.
A Peaceful Future
The above picture is of Max Yasgur, the owner of the land where Woodstock was held. After the festival had ended, he spoke of how, “If we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future…”
Woodstock was held on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. But because of the sheer amount of people heading to the festival, roads became gridlocked, and entrance to the festival became blocked 24-hours before it was set to start. Most people just ditched their cars and walked the rest of the way to the festival grounds.
VW’s at Woodstock
VW Campervans were a huge part of the ‘60s, with many opting to use them to travel to Woodstock. This is why the van has since been nicknamed the ‘Hippy Van’ because they are associated with this event.
The organizers of Woodstock didn’t intend to have that many turn up to their festival. They told the authorities that they were expecting around 50,000 people to attend. But oh, how wrong they were! Over the whole weekend, 500,000 people turned up. Due to the sheer number of people making their way onto the farm, organizers had no choice but to offer free entry and cut the fences surrounding the area.
If I fit, I sit
Because there were so many people covering a relatively small space, space to rest was limited. But people came up with their own unique ways to take a little break from the music and festivities.
People also needed to think outside of the box to get the best view of their favorite performers. With little space on the floor, many people took to the skies and climbed up the railings.
The Woodstock Guru
This man was called the Woodstock Guru. Sri Swami Satchidananda opened the festival with a long and heartfelt speech about world peace, the war, and human and animal suffering. He said, “And the future of the world is in your hands. You can make or break it. But, you are really here to make the world and not to break it. I am seeing it. There is a dynamic manpower here. The hearts are meeting.”
End The War Before It Ends You
Most of the attendees of Woodstock festival were young people who were anti-war supporters. Woodstock was the place for hippies and like-minded people to share their views and heal the world through music.
Don’t rain on our parade
Woodstock was famous for being an incredibly rainy weekend and was battered with on and off showers. Although it did dampen the festival grounds, it didn’t dampen the festival-goers spirits. In fact, they seemed to embrace the rain.
Singin’ in the rain
Performers were warned about the rain though, as there were fears that the rain would affect the electrics to the point that they could get electrocuted. Alvin Lee from the band, Ten Years After was warned of this and said, “Oh, come on. If I get electrocuted at Woodstock, we’ll sell lots of records.”
A lot of the people that descended upon Woodstock didn’t take their own tents. Instead, they opted to make their own shelters for the weekend. Impromptu huts like this one were scattered all across the farm, and provided a peaceful retreat from the crowds.
I ❤️️ Woodstock
There was no official merchandise for Woodstock, so many of the festival-goers decided to create their own garments – like tie-dye T-shirts with the word ‘Woodstock’ on them. They proved a huge hit.
The clothing was very much in tune with the times of the ‘60s. Tie-dye, flares, denim, headscarves and flowing garments were all the rage. Women loved to dress up their outfits with long beaded necklaces and hats.
The age of rock ‘n’ roll
Considering the sheer amount of people that turned up, Woodstock is remembered as being one of the most peaceful events of all time. It’s no wonder that people decided to take along their children. Why should there be an age limit to musical appreciation?
The Hendrix Experience
Jimi Hendrix performed on the third day of Woodstock in his iconic tasseled leather jacket. So many people turned up to see him that you can’t even see the end of the sea of people…not one for the claustrophobe. He played for just over two hours.
Taking a break
Jefferson Airplane were one of the headliners of Woodstock. Here they are taking a break from their set. They’re most famous for their song, ‘Somebody To Love’ and have since been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Peace & Love
The hippies that attended the festival were all about peace and love – so it was common to see the beginning of relationships springing up all across the site. This couple is reportedly still together today. One love, man.
Reach for the stars
Woodstock was a celebration of life and the freedom of expression. Some took this concept to extreme heights. Alongside the music, festival-goers took this as an opportunity to be themselves away, free from parents and enforcers. The guy sitting atop the top trunk is actually reading a book.
All pets allowed
The festival didn’t discriminate. The event was open to everyone, regardless of color, race, ethnicity, gender. Even animals and pets were welcome. This woman took her dog along with her, because she wanted to go with her best friend.
The sea of people
A helicopter filmed this aerial shot of Woodstock for the 1970 documentary on the festival. This picture shows the sheer size of the festival – just look at the stage (on the left) and how small it looks in comparison to the sea of people. Despite this, the festival was nicknamed the ‘three days of peace.’
Despite it being primarily a music festival, Woodstock attendees used it as an opportunity to work and live together. Communal kitchens and living spaces were set up to turn their free time into a communal celebration, to try and bring people together through food and drink.
Because of the huge size of the festival, the risk of accidents became even greater. Although there was no violence of any kind at Woodstock, there were two deaths – one of which involved being run over by a tractor. But as two lives ended another two started, because two of the women who attended the festival ended up giving birth there!
The flower headband made its first appearance at Woodstock. The headband has now become a festival staple all across the world – but Woodstock is its true home.
Fashion Faux Pas
While the female attire of Woodstock festival has since been replicated and become commonplace in twenty-first-century life, we can’t say the same for the style that some men opted for…
Go your own way
Woodstock made its own little community over the course of the weekend. Small communes were dotted around the sites and in the surrounding forests. Many residents created quirky signposts to direct fellow festival-goers.
Rhythmic dancing and drum circles also became a huge part of the festival. Many people attended to enhance their spirituality, and saw it as a place of worship and a place of solitude. Yoga and meditation were commonplace amongst the masses.
The Joplin Effect
Janis Joplin performed over the course of the weekend, and she has often been dubbed the best and most iconic performer of the festival. Her performances were described as ‘electric’ and epitomized the rock and roll of the time. Unfortunately, she died a year later.
Photographers had a field day at the festival, and found thousands of beautiful faces to capture. After the success of Woodstock festival, these pictures came to the forefront of media attention, and some women were even offered modeling contracts because of their photos.
The festival gave young people the chance to exhibit their free spirits, away from the confines of their parents. Woodstock was a space to allow free speech and movement – and many expressed this through dance.
Some people even took this opportunity to showcase their skills and craft. Many made clothes, headbands and other items to sell at the makeshift merchandise booths.
With all the rain and mud that surrounded the festival, many attendees decided to use the natural shower that came from a nearby pond. Some even took inflatables to frolic in the water.
While the festival was going on, headlines with negative connotations around the event began to appear. But when the attendees got home and told others about their experiences, the papers began to praise the event.
Rock and Roll rests
After a full weekend of music, dancing, peace and love, many of the festival-goers started to get pretty tired. These people are taking a well-earned rest from the festivities, but also keeping the spirit of Woodstock going by playing music on drums, barrels and other instruments.
Friends for life
One of the main attractions of the festival was that people could come together from all over the country and share similar values. Some people have even said they made friends for life during their time at Woodstock.
The festival had resulted in a huge amount of litter in and around the grounds in Bethel. The clean-up went on for weeks after Woodstock had ended. The residents of Bethel hated Yasgur (the owner of the farm) so much because of the litter that they banned him from the village store until he had completely cleaned up.
But the Woodstock attendees did try to help with the clean up. Keeping with the festival’s’ themes, these festival-goers decided to create a peace sign out of the plastic bottles they found around the site.
We won’t stop
If you thought the drive in was bad, the drive out of Woodstock was even worse – especially with the abandoned cars on the road. People were stuck for hours, so decided to keep the festival going themselves…