"Three Days of Peace and Music"
The Sixties were an exciting revolutionary period with great cultural change. Some
people called it the "decade of discontent" due to the race riots in Detroit and LA, and the
demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Other people called it the decade of "Peace, Love, and
Harmony". The sixties were about assassination, unforgettable fashion, new styles of music, civil
rights, gay and women's liberation, Vietnam, Neil Armstrong landing on the moon, peace
marches, sexual freedom, drug experimentation, and Woodstock (Woodstock 1). All of these components caused
a change in the world of popular music and society. The most famous of the sixties rock festivals
was Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Woodstock was a rock music festival that took place near Woodstock, New York in a
town called Bethel. The festival took place over three days, August 15, 16, and 17, 1969. The
original plan for Woodstock was an outdoor rock festival for "Three Days of Peace and Music" in
the Catskill village of Woodstock. The festival was expected to attract 50,000 to 100,000 people.
It was estimated that an unexpected 400,000 or more people attended. It began with partners
Michael Lang, (the manager of a rock band), Artie Kronfeld, (an executive at Capitol Records),
and two capitalists John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, who supplied most of the money and the
original idea. Their original plan was to build a recording studio in Woodstock. To get the word
out, the four partners decided to hold a concert, which they called the Woodstock Music and Art
Fair. The group originally tried to have the festival in the town of Woodstock, but the citizens
would not permit it. Then after much debate, Michael Lang decided to move the concert to
Wallkill, New York where the people also protested, so finally he decided to move it about 70
miles away from the town of Woodstock to Max Yasgur's dairy farm. Looking back on the
Bethel farm Lang remarked "It was magic, it was perfect. The sloping bowl, a little rise for the
stage, and the lake in the background."
Woodstock had more acts scheduled to play then any other single event ever held before.
They were trying to sign the biggest Rock n' Roll bands in America. The problem was getting
the bands. Bands didn't want to take contracts from an unproven venture, because they had no
credibility. Woodstock Ventures solved that problem by paying enormous sums. The
breakthrough came when they signed the Jefferson Airplane, the biggest band back then. They
signed for $12,000. An incredible sum of money considering the Jefferson Airplane usually took
gigs for five or six thousand dollars. Credence Clearwater Revival signed for $11,500, and the
Who signed for $12,500. Then the rest of the acts started rolling in. Woodstock Ventures ended
up paying $180,000 on talent.
The first day of Woodstock was supposed to be for folk music, and for the most part it
was. This chaotic first day was highlighted with the fact that there were no ticket booths,
therefore no tickets. This led to the tearing down of the fences and the largest free concert ever
held. The headlining band was going to be Joan Baez. Tim Hardin, Arlo Gutherie, and
Sweetwater were also to perform that day. At 5:07 Friday morning, Richie Havens kicked off
Woodstock. With the lack of organization that went into Woodstock, Haven was forced to play
for three hours non-stop before another band was even ready to set up. Finally a large U.S. Army
helicopter flew in with more musicians. Ironically this helicopter saved Woodstock or the show
might not have gone on. So the U.S. army saved the day for a crowd of people who were mostly
On Saturday, the only...
"Performers." Music Festivals. June 1998. Geocities. 14 Mar. 2005. < http://www.geocities.com/~music-festival/performers.htm>.
"Welcome to Woodstock!" 1996. The Music Festival HomePage. 14 Mar. 2005 .
Woodstock Festival," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2005
http://encarta.msn.com © 1997-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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