Leslie Harris here and The Woodstock Festival started 54 years ago today, and continued through the 18th at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York, actually 40 miles Southwest of the town of Woodstock. It’s one of the largest music festivals in history, with 32 Acts and more than 400,000 people. The festival site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Creedence Clearwater Revival was the first act to sign a contract for the event. They agreed to play for $10,000, roughly $80,000 in today’s dollars. Once CCR signed, the promoters were able to get more big names to sign on. CCR had a start time of 12:30 AM, and John Fogerty insisted that they not be included in the film. The rest of the band was unhappy with this arrangement.
Advance tickets cost $18, and they were only available through mail order and at record stores. Tickets at the gate were to be $24.
However, the organizers weren’t terribly organized and didn’t get fences or gates installed, so a lot of people just entered the grounds for free. This almost financially ruined the promoters, were it not for Academy award-winning film.
The concert was supposed to happen in the town of Woodstock, but the people who lived in Woodstock rejected it. The organizers told Bethel Town officials that they expected no more than 50,000 people.
Jimi Hendrix was the last artist to perform, at 8:30 Monday morning. Much of the concert had been delayed due to rain. This is when he famously performed the national anthem.
The Woodstock Festival was remarkably peaceful, especially given the amount of people and the lack of organization. It seems like that might be impossible now. Here are some of the performers:
John Sebastian, who was just there to attend, but was persuaded to go on stage when some of the other performers were late.
The Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Sly and the Family Stone
10 Years After
Blood Sweat & Tears
Crosby stills Nash & Young
Sha Na Na
Were you there? Do you know anyone who was? Have you seen the film? Let us know in the comments on the Facebook page