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Woodstock 1969, The Most Spectacular Music Festival Ever!

Festival Travel

August 15-18 marks the annual (1969) anniversary of the world-famous Woodstock music festival. Those who traveled to Woodstock in 1969 had no clue they were going to experience one of the greatest music events in history!

Woodstock 1969, aerial photography. Source: woodstock.com.
For a map of where the festival took place click here.

Going to a music festival is one of the greatest ways to travel. It can even be a vacation idea. During a music festival you can rest, have fun, escape the daily rut, and simply “get away from it all”. And, it does not have to be expensive, if you plan on cheap lodging, if applicable, and the cheapest way to get there.

In other words, you can recharge your batteries, just being your natural self, enjoying what you enjoy.

Woodstock was different from any other festival ever before

Traveling to iconic music festivals have always been a popular thing to do. Talking about music festival attendees among people of all ages and music-interest the undisputed music festival of all times that always pop up is only one: Woodstock!

Woodstock was the “mother of all festivals”. No one has ever come close from fame since.

The Smithsonian Channel, in a program describing Woodstock, said it best: “Woodstock was the climax of the counterculture”!

Today the music festival scenes are as popular as ever, but of course, with a completely different genre of music. The 1960’s flower-power era of folk-songs and the “protest”-songs are long sealed in history. But, of course, today’s music is the featured genre of current festivals.

But whether you travel to festivals at the Coachella, the Monterey Jazz festival, or perhaps to some Country & Western music festival in Texas, music festivals are here to stay.

Whether you are old enough to have experienced Woodstock or not, even younger music festival fans love to hear what Woodstock was all about.

Woodstock music festival 1969

Woodstock 1969 traffic
One million young people headed to Woodstock. 500,000 had to be turned away.

Woodstock happened outside of Bethel, New York, on August 15-17, 1969, towards the end-peak of the hippie-era.

The organizers of the festival told the local authorities that a maximum of 50,000 tickets would be sold for the event.

The total number of attendees showing up, however, ended up being up towards 500,000 people. On top of that, the authorities turned away 500,000 additional people from the venue, since they could not be accommodated!

A special era

Richi haven Woodstock 1969
Richie Havens

The timing of this festival was right for the times. The U.S.A. was experiencing a new generation of revolting “peace and love” hippies (since the early 1960s), and the Vietnam War was going on, with thousands of young American soldier heroes dying. Richard Nixon was the President, and San Francisco was the “capital of hippies”.

The 1960’s younger generation of Americans wanted change. Woodstock was the perfect place to come together through the expressions of music and song.

Woodstock became the cultural icon of the 1960s. The event featured artist greats like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Country Joe McDonald, Sly & the Family Stone, The Who, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, and Santana.

The author’s personal impression

Young captain Les
Yeah, that was me, the author, as a teenager with my long hair back in the 1970s era.

Personally, I was just a little too young to be sent to Vietnam, becoming a hippie, or going to Woodstock for that matter. Plus, had I been old enough, I am sure my dad would have spanked my bare behind raw for just mentioning admiration for the hippie era.

Yes, believe it or not, but back as a child of the 1960s to the 1970s, we were spanked when we misbehaved! It was bad enough (in my parents’ minds) for me just to have the nerve to grow my hair long!

But as a child and as a teenager I just loved the music of the era. Canned Heat, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and so many other bands were among my favorites. I also loved my Puerto Rican salsa music of the 1970s, and I attended countless music events and festivals of different kinds.

Will Woodstock return?

Of course, no one and nothing can recreate THE original Woodstock music festival. A few of the artists are still living, the young hippies are now grandparents or great-grandparents, and the hippie-era music genre is no longer what the youth of today listen to.

Bobbi & Nick Ercoline, Woodstock album cover
They were there!
Do you notice the young couple, Bobbi & Nick Ercoline, wrapped in a blanket on the album cover for Woodstock in 1969?
Well, here are Bobbi & Nick today, photographed holding the very album they ended up on the cover for!
IMGUR / REDDIT

Woodstock Revival

The only way we can re-live Woodstock in its original superbness is from the comfort of our own home, watching the original visual and sound recordings, in places such as YouTube.

For a list of performers in 1969, check here.

Some Woodstock 1969 performances

Scenes from Woodstock. Background performance: Canned Heat performing Going Up the Country. Vocals/guitar is performed by Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson. YouTube.
Country Joe McDonald performing the Anti Vietnam song. YouTube.
Richie Havens performing Freedom. YouTube.
Janis Joplin performing Try. YouTube.
Joe Cocker performing Let’s Go Get Stoned. YouTube.
Santana performing Soul Sacrifice. YouTube.
Jimi Hendrix with the unforgettable performance of the Star Spangled Banner. YouTube.

What do you think about Woodstock? Where you there? Or, what do you think about music festivals in general? Please let us know.

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