Rarely Seen Photos from Woodstock

Woodstock redmond stage

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Woodstock defined a generation at the end of an era dominated by war and protests. We look back on it now and remember a weekend of peace, love, and great music. For the event promoters and those with financial ties, the event was an unmitigated disaster from start to end. For the attendees, it was the essence of hippy culture made manifest in an orgy of peace, love, and music.

The prevalence of marijuana and other mind-altering substances likely helped smooth over the torrential thunderstorms and the muddy, poopy mess that followed, the overwhelming press of unplanned for bodies, and the food shortages that began on day one. Help from unexpected sources, including nuns and the US Army, helped keep things groovy. What we’re left with is fond memories of a spectacular event that’s proven impossible to replicate.

The stories of Woodstock, fantastic, terrible, bizarre, and sometimes obscured by the passage of time, are almost as entertaining as the infamous performances of the festival. Relive all the glory and gory memories in the slides to follow.

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[The Preshow] A Festival is Born

Woodstock Music Festival

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair of 1969 (typically referred to as Woodstock without any modifiers) is now known as the quintessential music festival, but what it became was not quite what the promoters originally had in mind. Michael Lang, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, and John Roberts were responsible for putting the show together. Roberts and Rosenman provided the cash to finance the project, while Lang and Kornfeld brought the vision. Lang had limited experience as a concert promoter with a recent stint co-organizing the Miami Pop Festival. which claimed roughly 25,000 attendees. The partnership between the four was initially an attempt by Kornfeld and Lang to get the financiers to back a music studio in the idyllic upper New York area around Woodstock, an area already well-beloved by artists of all stripes since the early 1900s. Unimpressed with this backwoods studio idea, Roberts and Rosenman suggested a music festival instead, and thus, Woodstock was born.

Almost immediately, Woodstock Ventures began to have challenges. Lang viewed Woodstock as an opportunity to forge a new way of doing business and his approach to managing the event was notably laid back, something that Roberts, who was much more disciplined in his approach, found frustrating. Problems erupted almost immediately, beginning, but not limited to, the location of the event.

[The Preshow] A Festival is Born