Woodstock Was A Crowded, Muddy Mess. So Why Did People Love It?

By | November 29, 2016

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Eight-track tapes of the Woodstock documentary soundtrack. Source: Facebook

The 1969 Woodstock music festival was the peace-and-love generation's defining event. But as an event, it was far from a success -- traffic was a nightmare, the venue was overcrowded, it lacked facilities and infrastructure, food was scarce, the rain and mud were intense. How does this moment, despite the physical hardships endured by the crowd, live on in their minds as the hippie dream come true?

The initial idea was to have a festival that would be called “Woodstock Music and Art Fair; An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music”. The fair, more commonly known as “Woodstock,” was slated to be a small scale controlled concert to generate revenue. This would prove otherwise as the artists drew larger-than-anticipated crowds of followers, most of which were hippies. As ticket sales soared, estimated attendance was near 200,000 but was later found to be double that; the festival’s peak attendance was about 400,000.

Despite The Odds, Woodstock '69 Happened

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The festival which would go on to be named as one of the most pivotal moments in Rock and Roll history was not shy of its problems. Initial hindrances stemmed from the securing of a suitable location due to mass crowd permits and sanitation regulations, as well as heavy resistance from residents. Despite all the hurdles, the final resting place of the festival fell amongst the 600 acre dairy farm of New Yorker Max Yasgur, near its namesake of Woodstock, New York. Other obstacles included the procurement of performers who were famous enough to draw in a crowd as well as feel the musically hungry souls of the critical audience. Coming off of their newly found success, the first group to join the line-up was Creedence Clearwater Revival, and with that many other acts followed suit.