Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival with this in-depth retelling of those famous three days of peace, love, and music—overflowing with images and behind-the-scenes information, you'll be fully immersed in the '60s vibe.
Half a million fans, described as a "swarm of hippies," flowed non-stop into Yasgur's Farm, Bethel, New York, over the weekend of August 15–18, 1969, to watch 32 legendary music acts, including Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix. With all the roads around Bethel gridlocked, helicopters ferried in performers who couldn't reach the venue any other way.
Rolling Stone magazine said the Woodstock festival was a moment that changed history, but some festival-goers, soaked by rain, wallowing in muddy fields, and without enough bathroom facilities, described it as total chaos. Electrical problems and ankle-deep water on stage caused havoc with the schedule and a thunderstorm suspended performances on Sunday afternoon. So it was 9 a.m. on Monday morning by the time the star of the show, Jimi Hendrix, appeared, and many people were already heading home.
Despite all the criticism, the festival is regarded as a defining moment of the 1960s. Some superlative musicians gave unsurpassed performances captured forever in the Woodstock movie. Many performed songs expressing opposition to the Vietnam War—a sentiment shared by the vast majority of the audience—and, 50 years later, the term "Woodstock Generation" is still used to describe the anti-war youth counterculture of the 1960s.