Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock | Coursera Community
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Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock

  • 15 August 2019
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  • Music Community Leader
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August 15 - 17 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the largest, greatest festivals, "Woodstock - Aquarian Exposition - 3 Days of Peace and Music"held in 1969. At least a half million mostly young people showed up to Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel New York to listen to some of their favorite musicians. Although tickets were sold, it soon became apparent that there was no stopping the crowds of people that just came pouring into the performance area.Organizers had to make this a free event. Traffic along the Thruway to get there was so extensive that the road had to be closed. People just abandoned their cars along the road and walked to the festival. Thousands of cars were strewn along the road.

There was so much to appreciate about this event. Although there were thousands and thousands of people, there were no reported incidents or violence. There were no police there, no fear, no crime. There was a sense of community and caring for one another, sharing food and friendship.The 3 days weren't easy. Two of the days brought heavy rain. The grounds were turned into mud. People were wet, dirty tired and hungry, but supportive of one another and very appreciative of the wonderful music that was happening on stage.

History calls the people that attended a "counter culture" movement of youth known as "Hippies' They dressed in bright tie dye clothes,had long hair and beards, etc. This was the way many youth dressed at the time.

The music was incredible. Some of the greatest musicians of the times were there. Jimi Hendrix was the highest paid musician with Carlos Santana the second highest. The music was varied and represented different styles. There was Joan Baez and Arlo Guthrie representing folk style and then there was Maestro Ravi Shankar on his Indian Sitar performing a Raga. I won't list everyone but here are some of the other musicians or bands: Sly and the Family Stone, Paul Butterfield, Grateful Dead, The Band, Sha Na na, Richie Havens ( who opened the show), Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Credence Clearwater Revival, Blood Sweat and Tears,, Crosby Stills and Nash, The Who, Melanie, Tim Hardin, Country Joe and the Fish, Joe Cocker, The Incredible String Band, John Sebastian.

It was remarkable that there were three whole days of peace and music that happened here.
Music was the great unifier.

Have any of you attended Woodstock?
Are any of these musicians ones that you have enjoyed?
Any further thoughts to share?

4 replies

Joni Mitchell couldn't be at Woodstock because she was supposed to be at a TV show on Monday. Instead, she watched it on television for the entire time and then wrote a song which was made famous by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. It's a good description of the event:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrWNTqbLFFE
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I was only six years old at the time, I remember hearing about it when it happened, but it wasn't until I was older that the social importance of it became clear to me. I have since, of course, watched the movie several times. It was indeed a who's who list of musicians of the time.
Funny that you should post this right now, too. I had just finished reading an interview with Joan Baez and her rememberances of it, which I share below.

Warning, there is a bit of strong language used in the article.
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/joan-baez-woodstock-69-866677/
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I remember, I was 14. My cousin's son was being christened that weekend. I remember seeing reports about it on the national newscasts. @Judith I was just reading that last night, in this past Sunday's NY Times, about Joni Mitchell. Her manager was afraid she would get caught in all the traffic and not make it back to be on Dick Cavett on Monday. She was dating Nash at the time and wrote the song based on what he told her and news reports.
@Halla , it was so interesting to hear Joan Baez’s memories of this event. It’s so hard for me to imagine she and Janis Joplin being together.
@playfulcat , thanks for the details about Joni Mitchell. It’s incredible that you and Robin both remember this .

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