header print

8 Facts You May Have Not Known About Woodstock

Woodstock's story began as an investment opportunity. It ended as a historical event, forever written in worldwide cultural chronicles. Maybe your grandmother was there, maybe your mother was conceived there, or maybe you wish you were there yourself, but how much do you really know about Woodstock? Let's get the facts and enjoy some pictures from the event. 

1. It wasn't meant to be free

4 young men aged 27 or younger who worked in the music industry were looking for their next big project, leading to their formation of Woodstock Ventures, Inc. in a small town north of New York. Their names were Artie Kornfeld, Michael Lang, Joel Rosenman, and John Roberts. After signing Creedence Clearwater Revival, which gave way to more popular artists to be signed, the 4 were in search of a venue. But the original plan to book Howard Mills Industrial Park in Wallkill was shot down by locals who were afraid of mayhem in their small town. They conjured up an excuse about the event's portable toilets not being up to protocol, and only a month before the event, producers found Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York, who eventually hosted the event. As they only had a month to set up the entire event, and people started showing up before the production team could set up a charging platform and proper food supplies, they took the brave decision to not charge people. 

2. There were more than just people in the crowd

As explained above, the event was hosted in a dairy farm owned by Bethel local Max Yasgur. He and his team were working hard to fence the cows in, but no fence can stand up to that many festival attendees. Eventually, he decided to give up on mending and maintaining the fence and let the cows loose! They joined in on the harmony perfectly. One of the employees on the farm even stated that the cows and the crowd "seem to be getting along together fine".

3. The highest-paid performer was the one with the least audience

Woodstock Jimi Hendrix

The highest-paid performer of Woodstock was Jimi Hendrix. He was paid 18,000$, which has the same buying power as a little over 135,000$ today. But as he was the one to close the festival on August 18, 1969, the crowd was already at its thinnest! Of the full 400,000 people who attended, there were only 25,000 left at that point. The lowest-paid performer, by the way, was Quill, who got 375$ for his performance, equal to about 2,800$ today. 

4. Performers were ushered in on helicopters

Woodstock aerial photo

The roads leading up to Yasgur's farm on 15 August 1969 were jammed long before the first performer took the stage. People were leaving their cars in the middle of the road to trek to the event! And so, the musician that was due to open the festival, Sweetwater, didn't make it in time. While Richie Havens took over the first act, Sweetwater band was airlifted by a helicopter so they could go second. Few other performers also landed into the event from the air. 

5. There were no violence reports 

Despite the many concerns, there aren't any official violence reports that came up from Woodstock. The crowd was even described by the local chief of police as "the most courteous, considerate, and well-behaved group of kids I have ever been in contact with within my 24 years of police work". 
While law enforcement could have filled an entire jail with arrests for marijuana possession, they chose to turn a blind eye as there "wouldn't be enough space in Sullivan County, or the next three counties, to put them in".
The only case that could be considered an impropriety is theft: some of the crowd looted farmland for corn and produce due to food shortages. As mentioned in the first section, the event wasn't as well organized due to lack of time. 

6. Not everything was sugary sweet 

Woodstock people sitting around in wooden adventure park

While there weren't major injuries reported (mainly drug-related issues and bare-feet injuries), it is important to note that 8 women experienced miscarriages, one person was run to death by a tractor and another died a drug-related death.  

The sanitary conditions weren't the best, to say the least, and some people were reportedly taking the mantra "make love, not war" a step too far, making love out in the open wherever they fancied. 

Another anecdote comes from the Who's John Entwistle, who told in an interview that the ice in his drink was spiked with acid without his consent or knowledge. There were 25 people every hour who experienced severe panic attacks and the likes of it due to the use of psychedelic drugs.

7. The stage was a means of communication 

Imagine going to such an enormous event and losing your friend, losing your child, or losing your medications. What could you possibly do without any means of communication? That's what the stage was used for. There were public service announcements between each act, warning people about a dangerous drug going around, providing information about where to find help, or alerting about unattended children. Some more specific announcements set up meetings between people per request and even reminded diabetic people to take their insulin at the information booth. 

8. Even the trash left behind was symbolic

Woodstock young man sleeping on bike

When the music and the crowd were all but gone and it was time to start the challenging task of cleaning up the farm, Michael Lang had noticed something touching happening on the farm grounds. He was a co-promoter of the event and at the time, was scouting the site in a helicopter. Down on the ground, the team shoveling the trash had arranged it to form a peace sign.


Max Yasgur and his wife

Next Post
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Facebook Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy
Sign Up for Free Daily Posts!
Did you mean:
Continue With: Facebook Google
By continuing, you agree to our T&C and Privacy Policy