Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
Woodstock was arguably the most famous concert in history. Headlined by acts such as Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jefferson Airplane, the festival lasted 3 days - August 15-18, 1969 - with the music going almost non-stop all weekend. Held on a dairy farm owned by Max Yasgur in Bethel, New York (not Woodstock, NY - that town was about 50 miles away), the festival was expected to draw up to 50,000 people. When eight times that amount showed up, traffic stopped and the area was placed in a state of emergency.
Thirty two different acts performed at Woodstock. Artists were paid anywhere from $30,000 down to $375. Artists such as Bob Dylan and The Doors were invited, but declined.
The festival was not covered very well by the media. Only local reporters were actually at the festival, while national news outlets relied on reports. Originally, the papers painted Woodstock in a very negative light, but changed their tune after receiving reports from attendees themselves.
Woodstock was potentially the definitive moment in the generation that came to be called the “Woodstock generation”. Only a couple of official anniversary concerts have been performed at the actual location - Woodstock can’t be recreated.