“The scene at Woodstock was just what you see in the movie footage. If you think it looked like fun, and if you think the music was great, then multiply that by a billion.” From the book “Woodstock Revisited”
Yes, it is incredible, but it has already been 40 years since almost half a million people gathered in Bethel, New York to celebrate “3 days of peace and music.” It took 6 months to put together this concert, which was considered by Rolling Stone one of the 50 Moments that changed the history of Rock and Roll.
At the time, no one knew that this was going to be one of the most important concerts in history: not the organizers, the participants, or the artists. For example, some of the most influential musicians declined the invitation to the concert, including Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Jethro Tull, Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.
Thirty-two famous artists, however, performed at this concert. Among them were: Richie Havens, Sweetwater, a six months pregnant Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who and of course the amazing Jimi Hendrix.
When you think about half a million people crowded on 600 acres for three days without enough food, rain, mud, and no place to sleep, you might think that this would be a formula for disaster. But when you see some of Woodstock’s statistics, it seems like things were quite different:
Number of deaths (one each from heroin overdose, ruptured appendix, and being run over by a tractor): 3
Number of people arrested on drug charges: 13
Number of doctors who treated 6,000 patients: 18
Number of caldrons of rice-carrot-raisin combo made at Hog Farm Free Kitchen by 3 a.m. Sun, Aug 17: 51
Lawsuits filed after the festival: 80
Cows unfenced for three days with the campers: 450
Frankfurters and hamburgers consumed on the first day: 500,000
Gosh! I wish I was there. Were you?
Some materials for your enjoyment at the library are:
Back to the garden : the story of Woodstock
Woodstock vision : the spirit of a generation
Woodstock : the summer of our lives
The road to Woodstock
Woodstock revisited : 50 far out, groovy, peace-loving, flashback-inducing stories from those who were there
Woodstock : peace, music & memories : 40th anniversary
Taking Woodstock : [a true story of a riot, a concert, and a life]
Woodstock: 3 days of peace & music
Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock