1. On Aug. 15, 1969, more than 400,000 young people made their way to a dairy farm in the town of Bethel, New York, for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
The event was billed as “three days of peace and music” and featured 32 of the most iconic artists in American music history. More than just a festival, Woodstock captured perfectly the free spirit of the 1960s and became a cultural landmark that represents an entire generation of American youth.
2. Getting there wasn’t easy though…
With thousands flocking to the small New York town, the roads became jam-packed and many abandoned their vehicles to set out on foot.
A young man with head injuries who was thrown from the trunk of a car on the road leading to Woodstock. Ambulances were unable to reach the scene because of the traffic.
4. Organizers of Woodstock told authorities that they were expecting only 50,000 people to show up — they were hugely mistaken.
The huge crowds began to overwhelm the small rural community. New York governor Nelson Rockefeller considered sending the National Guard, while Sullivan County actually declared a state of emergency.
5. Despite the gigantic gathering of people, Woodstock is remembered for being a remarkably peaceful event.
8. After more people arrived than expected, organizers agreed to offer admission free of charge.
13. Max Yasgur, the farmer who owned the land, spoke about the peaceful atmosphere: “If we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future…”
Max and Miriam Yasgur on their land after the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Guitarist Carlos Santana and bassist David Brown perform on day two.
Rock music legend Janis Joplin performs later on the second day.
The Who fit the bill after Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and The Grateful Dead.
David Crosby of Crosby, Stills & Nash performs for the crowd on day three.
22. Recreational drug use wasn’t uncommon either.
Music fans seek shelter in a grass hut underneath a sign that reads, “Have a marijuana.”
23. Many of the attendees banded together to help feed and care for their fellow concertgoers.
Two women give medical care during Woodstock. There were two recorded deaths at the festival: one from a heroin overdose and another when a tractor ran over a sleeping concertgoer. There also were two births.
Workers carry medical supplies that arrived by helicopter.
26. After three days of peace and music, leaving the festival wasn’t that easy either…
Hundreds of fans jam the highway leading from Bethel, New York, as they try to leave Woodstock.
27. Neither was cleaning up…
A woman sweeps debris from the street in front of her home as concertgoers leave.
28. Or forgetting the amazing things that can happen when people join together in the spirit of peace, love, and music!
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