On August 15th, 16th, and 17th, 1969, an estimated 450,000 people from all over America descended on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The festival was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition in White Lake, NY: 3 Days of Peace & Music.”
It is hard to overstate Woodstock’s legend. It has gone down in history for its epic musical performances, the mind-blowing size of the audience, countless logistical and technical challenges, traffic jams, drugs, rain, mud, occasional nudity, and the hippie ideals of peace and love. It was, above all, a joyful celebration that stands as the defining moment of the 1960s counterculture generation.
For those three days, some of the greatest musicians in the country descended upon this rural Catskills town (and notably not the town of Woodstock, New York, located nearby.) They included Richie Havens, Sweetwater, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Carlos Santana, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, The Band, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Sha Na Na, Jimi Hendrix, and many more.
Today, the historic music festival is marked with a small monument that offers a panoramic view of the original festival site. The site is adjacent to the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which contains the Museum at Bethel Woods, which features displays and artifacts related to the Woodstock festival and the 1960s counterculture that it came to represent.