Once upon a time in Woodstock, New York from August 15 to August 18, 1969…
“The cream of the underground will be there. Everybody’s coming from all over the country. There’ll be drugs and psychedelics and music and riots.” (Peter Franklin, a young actor, quoted in the New York Times August 15, 1969)
Woodstock Music & Art Fair (informally, Woodstock or The Woodstock Festival) was a music festival, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”. It was held at a dairy farm near 43 miles (69 km) southwest of the town of Woodstock, New York.
During the sometimes rainy weekend, thirty-two acts performed outdoors in front of 500,000 concert-goers
In April 1969, newly-minted superstars Creedence Clearwater Revival was the first act to sign a contract for the event, agreeing to play for $10,000. The promoters had experienced difficulty landing big-name groups prior to Creedence committing to play.
Creedence drummer Doug Clifford later commented “Once Creedence signed, everyone else jumped in line and all the other big acts came on.” Given their 3:00 a.m. start time and non-inclusion (at Creedence frontman John Fogerty’s insistence) in the Woodstock film, Creedence members have expressed bitterness over their experiences at the famed festival.
Stop Max’s Hippie Music Festival. No 150,000 hippies here. Buy No Milk. (Sign in the town of Wallkill, protesting the festival held on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm)
“Good morning! What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for four hundred thousand.” (Wavy Gravy, speaking from the stage)
Friday, August 15
The first day officially began at 5:07 p.m. with Richie Havens and featured folk artists.
Swami Satchidananda – gave the invocation for the festival – 7:10pm – 7:20pm
Sweetwater – 7:30pm – 8:10pm
Bert Sommer – 8:20pm – 9:15pm
Tim Hardin – 9:20pm – 9:45pm
Ravi Shankar, with a three-song set, played through the rain – 10:00pm – 10:35pm
Melanie Safka – 10:50pm – 11:20pm
Arlo Guthrie- 11:55pm – 12:25am
Joan Baez- she was six months pregnant at the time – 12:55am – 2:00am
“I hope David can hear it”. (Joan Baez, following her performance of “We Shall Overcome”, in reference to David Harris, her husband who was imprisoned for draft resistance, as reported in the New York Times August 17, 1969)
“Anybody who tries to comes here is crazy. Sullivan County is a great big parking lot.” (Wesley A. Pomeroy, head of security, quoted in the New York Times August 16, 1969)
Saturday, August 16The day opened at 1:20 pm, and featured some of the event’s biggest psychedelic and guitar rock headliners.
Quill, thirty minute set of four songs – 12:15pm – 12:45pm
Country Joe McDonald – 1:00pm – 1:30pm
Country Joe McDonald: Gimme an F!
Country Joe McDonald: Gimme a U!
Country Joe McDonald: Gimme a C!
Country Joe McDonald: Gimme a K!
Country Joe McDonald: What’s that spell?
Country Joe McDonald, from the stage
Santana – 2:00pm – 2:45pm
John B. Sebastian – 3:30pm – 3:55pm
Keef Hartley Band – 4:45pm – 5:30pm
The Incredible String Band – 6:00pm – 6:30pm
Canned Heat – 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Mountain, hour-long set including Jack Bruce’s “Theme for an Imaginary Western.” – 09:00pm – 10:00pm
Grateful Dead, their set was cut short after the stage amps overloaded during “Turn On Your Love Light” – 10:30pm – 00:05am
Creedence Clearwater Revival – 12:30am – 1:20am
“We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn… …there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.” (John Fogerty regarding Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 3 a.m. start time at Woodstock.)
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band – 2:00am – 3:00am
Sly & the Family Stone – 3:30am – 4:20am
The Who – 5:00am – 6:05am kicking off a 25-song set including Tommy'”
Jefferson Airplane – 8:00am – 9:40am
The whole thing is a gas. I dig it all, the mud, the rain, the music, the hassles.(A long haired young man identified as “Speed”, as reported in the New York Times August 18, 1969)
Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18Joe Cocker was the first act on the last officially booked day (Sunday); he opened up the day’s events at 2 PM. His set was preceded by at least two instrumentals by The Grease Band.
Joe Cocker and The Grease Band – 2:00pm – 3:25pm
After Joe Cocker’s set, a thunderstorm disrupted the events for several hours.
Country Joe and the Fish 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Ten Years After- 8:15pm – 9:15pm
The Band – 10:00pm – 10:50pm
Johnny Winter – 12:00am – 1:05am featuring his brother, Edgar Winter, on three songs.
While Winter was on stage, Hurricane Camille roared ashore along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, becoming the first Category 5 hurricane to strike the United States in 34 years.
Blood, Sweat & Tears – 1:30am – 2:30am
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – 3:00am – 4:00am
with separate acoustic and electric sets. Chip Monck announced the group as “Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young”, but the name Young was dropped from the movie and film soundtrack.
Paul Butterfield Blues Band – 6:00am – 6:45am
Sha-Na-Na – 7:30am – 8:00am
Jimi Hendrix – 9:00am – 11:10am After being introduced as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Hendrix corrected the new group’s name to “Gypsy Sun and Rainbows, for short it’s nothin’ but ‘A Band of Gypsies.” Later during the set he introduced them as “Sky Church.”
“It’s about the quietest, most well-behaved 300,000 people in one place that can be imagined. There have been no fights or incidents of violence of any kind.”(Michael Lang, festival producer)