Rare Historical Images From The Woodstock Music Festival

Written by Rebeka Knott

Woodstock will forever be remembered as one of the, if not the best music festivals to take place, not only in the US, but in the entire world. It was a time when people felt free, where virtually no violence erupted and people just wanted to love.

The three-day concert drew almost ten times the expected amount of people. It featured legendary artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Richie Havens. New pictures are surfacing every decade of the memorable festival. That being said let's take a look of our own at some of the rare pictures from Woodstock. 

Woodstock 1969

Woodstock may have seemed to be a walk in the park. People were happy and free and enjoyed their lives to the fullest during those three days. The journey to the festival was another story. Reports say that over 1 million people turned back because the traffic was so bad. 

The traffic was so bad, that this man who needed medical attention, was unable to receive it. The traffic was backed up for miles and miles. 

The festival was so well attended that people were left standing and sitting on their cars in order to see the performances. 

People built all kinds of structures during the three days of Woodstock, including the wooden apparatus seen in the picture, with a happily perched event-goer on top. 

Needless to say that sleeping accommodations were a bit lackluster during Woodstock. Not that the people minded, they slept wherever they were comfortable. 

The sleeping arrangements included sleeping on the ground; with a plastic that functioned as a makeshift canopy that protected from the rain. 

Many believe that children didn't attend Woodstock. As inappropriate as it may seem to us now, parents back then saw nothing wrong with their kids tagging along to the music festival. 

The tiny surrounding communities were overwhelmed by the number of people who came out to the show. The governor of New York at the time considered calling the National Guard. 

Woodstock, which took place in the year 1969 went on to win an Oscar for the Best Documentary the following year.  

Unsure of how exactly this was calculated and even more unsure due to the large amounts of nudity at the festival, reports say that there was over 10 million yards or blue jeans and striped T-shirt material at Woodstock. 

Because of the large number of attendees, well over the amount expected by the organizers, they agreed to give people free access to the show, which only drew in bigger crowds. 

As if the patrons at the festival weren't helpful enough, some erected signs which showed you where to go, depending on what you wanted to partake in. One can only guess what the High Way led to. 

Many of the fashion trends that have been coming back into style in 2016, like fringe and denim, were in existence at Woodstock. Of course the hippies didn't see if that way, they just wore what made them feel comfortable. 

The patron didn't only depend on the musicians that they paid to see to offer the entertainment. In between sets, they had their own fun. Many traveling with their own musical instruments. 

Here's an adventurous hippie practicing his crowd-surfing technique in a pile of hay near the festival's venue. 

The atmosphere at Woodstock was so free that people felt the need to build smoke tents in which they could share their marijuana and life stories with others. 

People were able to indulge in marijuana use openly, although a few were arrested. 

To say that the use of recreation drugs was apparent at Woodstock would be a gross understatement. Little shacks like the one pictured, were erected for more than just shelter from the elements. 

It would only make sense that since the crowd was almost ten times the expected amount that amenities such as food would run out; which it did. 

Even the ice cream truck's stock ran low near the beginning of the festival. Adults and kids alike, despite the rain, devoured every single treat the truck had to offer. 

Life was sweet during Woodstock, so when food ran out, some nearby nuns and religious groups brought over hundreds of pounds of meat. The people seen serving the food are none other than concert-goers, lending a helping hand. 

Pictured are two of the women able to provide medical care during the festival. There were two deaths; one from a heroine overdose and the other from a tractor running over a sleeping attendee. 

Despite the huge crowds, no violent altercations occurred. Unfortunately, eight women miscarried their unborn babies, while two gave birth.

This is an aerial view of the sheer number of Woodstock attendees. While only 50, 000 were expected, close to 400, 000 showed up. 

The event was so crowded that didn't mind climbing just a little bit higher to get a better view of the show. 

This picture shows the extremely talented Carlos Santana and his band, performing one of their hits at the show. 

The Woodstock lineup featured artists from all over the world. The Beatles couldn't make it due to visa issues, but the legend that was Janis Joplin showed up right on time for her performance on the second day. 

Of course the show had to be closed by the Rock God himself, Jimi Hendrix. Reports say that Jimi performed well over his allotted time at the show; something no one in their right mind complained about. 

Pictured here are the owners of the plot of land that help the iconic music festival. Promoters and organizers of the show were said to be in debt by over $1.3 million when the show was over. 

The journey home was just as miserable as the trip to the festival. Or maybe it was worse because it rained and all the magic and anticipation was gone. 

Cleaning up was just as bad. It took weeks to get most of the trash from the festival cleaned up. 

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.