Woodstock Turns 40

The only positive contribution of the Hippies was their music. And there is no event more associated with their groovy sound than their “Aquarian Exposition” Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music.

The Woodstock festival celebrates it’s 40th anniversary this weekend. One of the defining moments of the 1960’s kicked off August 15th, 1969 and finished on August 18th.

One of the most famous images from Woodstock.  The festival was commentated by a film and an album both called Woodstock.  There is now a museum and arts center at the site of the original event.

One of the most famous images from Woodstock. The festival was commentated by a film and an album both called Woodstock. There is now a museum and arts center at the site of the original event.

Nearly half a million smelly, diseased, stoned hippies gathered on a diary farm in upstate New York to take some drugs, have casual sex and listen to music.

Despite rain, little sanitation and no food the hoard of hippies were generally well behaved. We will give them that. Future generations are far too dastardly and immature to behave themselves in a crowd that big. In 1999, geniuses thought it would be a good idea to stage yet another Woodstock. It wasn’t. The feeble and final Woodstock attempt was marred by violence, vandalism and Limp Bizkit.

Hippies should get credit; they preached peace, love and understanding and for the most part they lived it. If only they bathed.

There was also a Woodstock in 1994. That was a mellow affair and feature some of the artists from the 1969 version.

Regardless of attempts to recapture the magic, there was really on one Woodstock and it occurred in 1969.

To celebrate the original and it’s 40th anniversary, the area surrounding Woodstock, which was adamantly opposed to the festival, is holding a series of events. On Frinday night, Richie Havens played at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Saturday at 5 p.m. (right after dinner time for the aging Hippies) a concert will be staged called “Heroes of Woodstock.” It features Country Joe McDonald, Tom Constanten, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, Ten Years After, Jefferson Starship, the Levon Helm Band and Mountain. Unlike Woodstock, most of the people in attendance will be in seats and they won’t be sleeping out on the lawn.

On Sunday, their will be panel discussion about the original festival. Hold them back! Don’t party too hard Woodstock fans. Whoo! A panel discussion, “pass the bong!”

At the raging “panel discussion,” you’re sure to hear comments like these:

“It was just peace and love,” said Woodstock attendee Debby (now white haired, teeth-less and walks with a cane). “Everybody cared for everybody. Nothing else happened except peace and love and music. I probably won’t live to see the next big anniversary.”

“Something took place here, and it’s still happening,” said Duke Devlin, 66, who has a chest-length, snow-white beard. “The sense of community we had was really overwhelming. I’ve never really experienced a weekend like that again.”

Despite the fond memories for those who remember being there, Woodstock has been greatly overhyped. It’s noted for defining a generation because the generation it defined grew up, entered the ranks of the media, and defined it.

While the lineup featured some great acts–mainly The Who and Jimi Hendrix–there were no Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Doors or Bob Dylan.

It’s also received more consideration than it deserves because it was located in New York. Had it been located in West Virgina or Oregon it would have been forgotten.

As with most hallmarks from the 60’s, Woodstock has over-romanticized because the liberal who dominate the media see the event as some sort of utopia. Yet like every thing the hippies stood for it really did nothing to change the world… for the better. The Vietnam War didn’t end, hostilities between nations didn’t cease, and evil didn’t evaporate from the face of the Earth.

In fact, one could make the argument with their free-love, substance abuse and moral ambiguity, the Hippies and their generation did far more to hurt the world then they did to help the world.

Still, if you were at Woodstock, and you remember your experience, now is great time to reflect.



  • Woodstock was held at Max Yasgur’s 600 acre dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York.
  • Thirty-two acts performed at Woodstock.
  • Nearly half-a-million attended the gathering organizers said would attract 50,000.
  • 186,000 tickets were sold for the event.
  • Tickets for the event cost $18 in advance (approximately US$75 today adjusted for inflation). They were $24 at the gate for all three days.
  • Despite Arlo Guthrie’s announcement, the New York State Thruway was never closed.
  • Two people died at Woodstock: one from an apparent heroin overdose and the other was run over by a tractor.
  • There were two births at Woodstock, one in a car and one in a helicopter. There were four recorded miscarriages.
  • The body of water behind the stage is called Filippini Pond.
  • Residents opposed the concert and posted signs reading, “Buy No Milk. Stop Max’s Hippy Music Festival.”
  • Sound for the concert was engineered by Bill Hanley.
  • Warner Bros. gave filmmakers $100,000 to film the event.
  • Martin Scorsese was one of the film’s editors.


Friday, August 15
Richie Havens
Swami Satchidananda
The Incredible String Band
Bert Sommer
Tim Hardin
Ravi Shankar
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez

Saturday, August 16
Keef Hartley Band
Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Canned Heat
Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band [19]
Sly & the Family Stone
The Who
Jefferson Airplane

Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18
The Grease Band
Joe Cocker
Country Joe and the Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Neil Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Jimi Hendrix

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