Guest Author - Megan Romer
The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was one of the most famous music festivals of all time, and a defining point in the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s.
Originally intended to be held in Woodstock, New York (hence the name), a small town in the Catskills, the Woodstock Festival was moved to Bethel, New York, after the town of Woodstock turned down their permit. The organizers chose Max Yasgur's farm as the new location, and after selling over 175,000 tickets in advance, prepared for a huge influx of people.
They had no idea how huge it would be, though. Over 500,000 people showed up to the event, causing a huge traffic jam which shut down the New York State Thruway, and to prevent a massive, chaotic riot, the promoters decided to cut down all of the fences and make the event free. Though throughout the weekend, it was rainy, food was scarce, and sanitation was poor, the music was so revolutionary and the "scene" was so remarkable that the festival became an instant legend, and very few people had complaints.
Performing at Woodstock were legends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens, Ravi Shankar, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Santana, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Blood, Sweat and Tears, The Band, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, among others. Music critics frequently hail it as one of the most important musical events in history.