Flashback to Woodstock, the original music fest

The former farm area where Woodstock took place in Bethel, New York.Photo by Kim Newton/TNS

Austin Williams ‘15

Sports Editor

The former farm area where Woodstock took place in Bethel, New York.Photo by Kim Newton/TNS

The former farm area where Woodstock took place in Bethel, New York.Photo by Kim Newton/TNS

Every summer, there are numerous music festivals and raves. They are all pretty similar. The question is: what caused music festivals to become so popular? The most obvious answer to that is the music festival and cultural event known as Woodstock.

The festival was originally advertised as, “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.” The festival took place from August 15 to 18, 1969, in the small town of Bethel, New York. It took place on a farm. Thirty two different acts or artists performed during this time span to an audience reaching 400,000 people, according to Huffingtonpost.com.

Some memorable performers were Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Santana, Richie Havens, and Joe Cocker. A peaceful gathering this large had not been heard of until this date.

One key part of the concert was that it was free. Throughout the hippie era, it was a common belief that all people are equals and everyone deserves the chance to have a life-changing experience. Due to this, the three men running the event, Michael Lang, John Roberts, and Artie Kornfield insisted that it be free.

The one word that explains Woodstock best is psychedelic. The people that attended this event were all part of the “feel-good hippie era” and together helped shaped the culture of the 1960s and ‘70s.

The town that held the festival actually had to declare a state of emergency during the concert, not because of a dangerous crowd but because the town was so overrun with festival-goers they had to shut down roads and entire areas of the city. The concert was almost brought to an end when New York governor Nelson Rockefeller almost ordered 10,000 national guard troops to shut down the festival. The man in charge of the event, John Roberts, managed to convince him not to.

In tune with the idealistic hopes and expectations of Woodstock, most of the attendees were happy. With the sense of social harmony, the overwhelming mass of people managed to reach the common goal of a weekend filled with peace, tranquility and music.