#TBT: 1969 Woodstock Festival
It was this week 50 years ago that hundreds of thousands of revelers gathered in upstate New York for Woodstock — the event that defined a generation. 🎶✌️
50 Years Since
The Woodstock Music Festival was the brainchild of four men, all age 27 or younger, looking for an investment opportunity: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. The Woodstock audience was diverse and a reflection of the rapidly changing times. Some were hippies who felt alienated by a society steeped in materialism. The Woodstock Music Festival began on August 15, 1969, as half a million people waited on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York, for the three-day music festival to start. Billed as “An Aquarian Experience: 3 Days of Peace and Music,” the epic event would later be known simply as Woodstock and become synonymous with the counterculture movement of the 1960s.
Woodstock was a success, but the massive concert didn’t come off without a hitch: Last-minute venue changes, bad weather and the hordes of attendees caused major headaches. Still, despite—or because of—a lot of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and rain, Woodstock was a peaceful celebration and earned its hallowed place in pop culture history. In 1969, the country was deep into the controversial Vietnam War, a conflict that many young people vehemently opposed. It was also the era of the civil rights movement, a period of great unrest and protest. Woodstock was an opportunity for people to escape into music and spread a message of unity and peace.
Although the crowd at Woodstock experienced bad weather, muddy conditions and a lack of food, water and adequate sanitation, the overall vibe there was harmonious. Looking back, some people attribute the lack of violence to the large number of psychedelic drugs being used. Others believe hippies were simply living out their mantra of “making love, not war.” In fact, more than a few couples at Woodstock took that command literally and made love whenever and wherever the mood hit. Thirty-two musicians, a combination of local and world-famous talent, performed at Woodstock.