Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969

A wide-angle view of the huge crowd facing the distant stage during the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

In 1969, more than 400,000 people descended on Bethel, New York, headed to a dairy farm owned by Max and Miriam Yasgur, where the Woodstock Music & Art Fair was being held.

The epic event became synonymous with the counterculture movement of the 1960s. Woodstock was a success, but the massive concert didn’t come off without a hitch: Last-minute venue changes, bad weather and the hordes of attendees caused major headaches. Still, despite—or because of—a lot of sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and rain, Woodstock earned its majestic place in pop culture history.

h/t: rarehistoricalphotos

A man drives a Volkswagen Beetle ahead of a long line of cars on the way to the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, while flashing a peace sign through the sunroof of the car, in Bethel, New York, in August 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The Woodstock Music Festival was the brainchild of four men, all age 27 or younger, looking for an investment opportunity: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. The four men formed Woodstock Ventures, Inc., and decided to host a music festival. After many failed attempts to find a location, finally, 49-year-old dairy farmer Max Yasgur offered to rent them part of his land in the White Lake area of Bethel, New York, surrounded by the verdant Catskill Mountains.

Young people on the road arrive at the Woodstock Music Festival on August 16, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Originally, about 50,000 people were expected. But by August 13, at least that number were already camped out on location and over 100,000 tickets pre-sold. As an estimated one million people descended on Woodstock, its organizers scrambled to add more facilities. Highways and local roads came to a standstill and many concert-goers simply abandoned their cars and trekked the rest of the way on foot. Eventually, about half a million people reached the venue.

A group of people step over a torn-down fence in order to enter the Woodstock grounds in August 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Over three days, 32 acts performed onstage, including Joan Baez, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jimi Hendrix. Woodstock officially ended on Monday, August 18, after Hendrix left the stage.

A red six-wheeler drives down the side of a dirt road to the camping area.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A woman named Psylvia dances in the midst of the crowd.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A man sits atop a treehouse-like platform playing the guitar, during Woodstock.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Young men and women skinny-dip in a river during Woodstock.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Festivalgoers hang from bent metal tubing as another untangles rope to tie the tubes together to form a tent frame on the grounds of the Woodstock Festival in August 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Audience members watch a performance at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The crowd looks toward the stage during a performance by the band Santana.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The musician Carlos Santana (right) and the bassist David Brown perform with the other members of Santana at Woodstock on August 16, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A sound man stands on scaffolding with his equipment in front of the Woodstock crowd.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

An unidentified woman smiles while her pet monkey sits in the middle of her group.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

John Sebastian performs at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in August 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Near the “Free Stage” at the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair, a shirtless young man in a leather vest makes a face as he leans against a decorated school bus used by the Hog Farmers, a group who had been asked to help construct, ensure security, and provide food for the event.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A bedraggled young woman stands in the mud on the grounds of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Rock music fans sit on a tree sculpture as one leaps midair onto a pile of hay during Woodstock on August 15, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A naked couple embraces as a river rushes around them while at Woodstock.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

An unidentified shirtless man sleeps stretched across the trunks of two parked cars at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A man and a child walk past people in sleeping bags in August 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Ken Babbs, one of the Merry Pranksters, talks with a filmmaker at Woodstock’s Free Stage.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The musician Richie Havens performs onstage at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair on August 15, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A long-exposure photo of the huge nighttime crowd.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The stage is lit up during a performance at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

The Indian musicians Ravi Shankar and Alla Rakha (left) perform onstage on August 15, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Several young people dish out food to others in a food line, during the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Halsey Clifton (right) stands on the sound-mixing table in the rain with a huge crowd around.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A woman runs through the mud at Woodstock on August 17, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

A view from the back of the stage as the rock group Country Joe and the Fish perform in the rain on August 17, 1969.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Attendees mill about the grounds of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Max and Miriam Yasgur, photographed in front of the trash remaining on their dairy farm, after the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Remembering The Original Woodstock In Wonderful Historical Photographs, 1969
The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below

More Inspiring Stories