The Woodstock Festival, which started in 1969 and ran for three days, was one of the most iconic music festivals of all time. The festival, which took place in Bethel, New York, featured 32 live acts and attracted around 500,000 people. Find out some more interesting facts about the event below.
It Was The Most Commercially Successful Music Festival Ever
It was also one of the most commercially successful music festivals ever. All-star booking agency William Morris saw Woodstock as an opportunity to present an eclectic lineup of rock, blues, bluegrass, and country music performers for profit. The event would make over 3 million dollars in ticket sales and have 45% of its audience coming from outside of New York state.
It Was Heavily Influenced By San Francisco’s Summer Of Love
The festival was heavily influenced by San Francisco’s Summer of Love and John Lennon’s peace campaign. The organizers had originally wanted to set up in Golden Gate Park. In 1966, just two years before Woodstock, another rock and roll celebration in San Francisco called the Summer of Love. Like many hippies at that time, musicians were looking for utopia and peace. Drugs were not only used to create music but also as part of life. Psychedelic posters were created, and concerts would happen from morning until evening.
It Wasn’t Supposed To Be Free
The initial idea was to have an enormous dance that would charge admission. But as plans progressed, organizers realized they might save money and still make it an open event by turning it into something of an unconventional happening. The change seemed right in spirit with how most people felt about pay-to-play events anyway. You can see evidence of some good old hippie counterculture ideals in those words.
Many Musicians Joined Together Under The Title Woodstock Nation
Many musicians joined together under the title of Woodstock Nation to take part in peace, unity, and love for all. More than 30 countries were represented at Woodstock by artists such as Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Canned Heat, Country Joe McDonald, and Santana.
Jimi Hendrix Got $18,000 To Perform.
Hendrix was paid $18,000 in exchange for his performance at Woodstock. The performance got him some serious airplay and put him on track to be one of music’s biggest stars and legends. Today he is widely considered to be not only one of rock’s most influential musicians but also one of its most technically skilled performers.
Very Well-Behaved Crowd
The crowd was not as ‘hippie’ as some would think; more adults and more people were in suits than expected. Five hundred arrests occurred at Woodstock, but those were mostly for drug offenses. This is an unusually low number for such an event of that size. A total of 22 ambulance trips were made, and there was only one fatality from one person who died from taking too many drugs.
Abbie Hoffman Crashed Set
Just minutes into their set, Yippie activist Abbie Hoffman was thrown off stage by security and arrested for trespassing. Despite his resistance and attempts to explain himself to police officers, he was taken away.
The Last One
The original location, some six miles west of where thousands enjoyed Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and others during what was billed as three days of peace and music, is on America’s list of historic places. The designation by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt means that any changes to Hillside are subject to federal review.