Woodstock was a rock festival that took place close too Woodstock, New York in a town called Bethel. The festival took
place over 3 days, August 15, 16, and 17, 1969. The original plan for Woodstock was an outdoors rock festival, “three days
of peace and music” in the Catskill village of Woodstock. The festival was expected to attract 50,000 to about 100,000
people.If it weren’t for Woodstock, rock and roll in my opinion wouldn’t be where it is today. Woodstock became a symbol of
the 1960s American counterculture and a milestone in the history of rock music.
The original plan for Woodstock had been to build a recording studio in the town of Woodstock .Woodstock had
become a rock hotspot when musician Bob Dylan and a group called The Band settled there. To promote the idea of
a concert, which was officially named the Woodstock Festival and Art Fair. The Monterey Pop Festival held in Monterey,
California, in 1967 inspired the Woodstock festival . The Woodstock promoters eventually rented a field from a
prominent local dairy farmer, named Max Yasgur, who owned land about 48 miles from Woodstock.
People from as far away as Michigan and California came to listen to the 24 rock groups. Thousands more people
would have come if police had not blocked off access roads. By the day before the official opening, traffic jams miles long
blocked most roads leading to the area. The intense traffic on Route 17B towards Bethel, New York that afternoon didn’t
seem to bother anyone as people all exchanged friendly waves. They knew that they were all on our way to the same place to
enjoy “three days of peace and music.” Had the festival lasted much longer, as many as one million youths might have made the
trip to Bethel. What started off as a promotion for a music studio, ended up as one of the most significant political and
sociological events of the age.
The main attraction of the festival was an all-star line-up of top rock artists. Some of the greatest musicians of the 1960s
performed, including singers Janis Joplin, Ravi Shankar, Arlo Guthrie, and Joan Baez as well as the bands The Stone; and
Creedence Clearwater Revival .Singer Joe Cocker and guitar player Carlos Santana, up to then unknown,
became stars overnight. Some performers who were scheduled perform could not due to the traffic problems. Jimi Hendrix
finished the event with a freeform solo guitar performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The dictionary defines a hippie as one who doesn’t conform to society’s standards and advocates a liberal attitude and lifestyle.
Most of the people at Woodstock were not hippies in the stereotypical sense: a good half of them, at least, were high
school or college students from middle class homes. But at Woodstock they exhibited to the world
many of the hippie values and the lifestyle, from psychedelic clothing to spontaneous, unashamed nudity to open
,and also illicit drugs. Youthful imaginations were captured, obviously, by the hippie sound: driving, hard
beat of rock, music that is not just a particular form of pop . A hippie’s main goal is to accomplish peace,
love and freedom in society. To be a hippie you must believe in peace as the way to resolve the differences among people,
ideas and religions. Most hippies believe that the way to peace is through love and tolerance. Loving
means you can accept others as they are, giving them freedom to express themselves and not judging their behaviors according
to a standard. This is the core of the hippie psycology. Freedom is the leading quality in the system. Freedom to do what you
want to do , go where the flow takes you, and be open to new experiences. This causes an attitude that allows for maximum
personal growth. Sure the lifestyle is risky, but that’s life and avoiding risk leaves you unprepared for the unexpected.
A controversial, yet still noticable cause for the success of Woodstock was the availability of illegal drugs, especially marijuana
and LSD. About 400 people reportedly experienced bad trips on acid at the festival. It is widely believed that a large amount
of the population at the festival was smoking marijuana or tripping on acid, and if you weren’t, there is a good chance that you
had a contact high throughout the festivities. There’s a saying, “if you remember the ’60’s, you weren’t Woodstock.” The drug
laws were suspended throughout the festival because the police were scared of a potentially dangerous riot during Woodstock,
one cannot overlook the few drug overdoses that made a tragic feeling to the Woodstock festivities.
Continuous rain caused an abundant amount of mud at the festival. The spontaneity comes from the fact that the rain caused
the site to be changed twice, which resulted in loss of preparation time. On the opening day of Woodstock, the stage was
not finished, the sound system had been randomly put together, and last but not least, the rain and muddy ground had
disintegrated the gates and fences. Many people got into the festival for free because of the rain. During the festival, many
people would also go skinny-dipping in a farm pond to get the mud off. The rain and mud helped add a peaceful touch to the
Woodstock has become a major symbol of the 1960s. It has become a historic symbol with different meanings to thousands of
people. From peace and love, to sex and drugs, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair is responsible for the reputation of the
1960s.Someone commented, “what started out as a disaster turned into a miracle and you could tell when you listened to
those who had been there, you heard wonder in their voices and saw it in their eyes and they said, ‘We were all there together.
It was beautiful.'” Woodstock was held together not by it’s fake rules but by it’s common loyalty and commitment of it’s
people to each other.
“There are a hell of a lot of us here. If we are going to make it, you had better remember that the guy next to you is your
brother.” Everyone remembered .There were no rapes, no assaults, no robberies and, as far as anyone can remember, not one
single fight. This eagerness for togetherness was demonstrated in countless major and minor ways. People shared food and
shelter of their own with total strangers. There was lack of conflict despite conditions that were ready for panic and chaos. The
generous assistance of the Hog Farm help bring everything together. A New Mexico hippie commune took care of kids who
were on bad trips from LSD. It was demonstrated to the adult world that young people could create a kind of peace in a
situation where none should have been .The youth of America got together well beyond the festival itself.
Overall the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was a great success. It was unexpected, remarkable, and memorable. The festival
of course caused some inconvenience to the surrounding communities and some area residents were suspicious of the looks
and behavior of the young people who attended. Yet the festival was peaceful. America’s youth surprised many people by the
festivals success. If it wasn’t for their peaceful ways, the festival would not have been as long-lasting. This event is known by
many to mark a high point in American counterculture. So much more came out of this music and art festival than was
expected. Woodstock has changed the outlook on rock and roll, the 1960s, and unity. It proved that when people come
together for a good cause, great things happen. That great thing was Woodstock.