It was sold as ‘3 days of Peace & Music,’ but Max Yasgur’s festival became so much more. It became iconic, and a slap in the face to an America that preached freedom, but offered little in return. Unjust wars in Vietnam persisted, and the persecution of blacks raged on. It was a divisive period in America, and Woodstock’s three-day event of music and psychedelic escapism was perhaps just as synonymous with the period.
But then again, how did an event, held on only 600-acres of dairy farmland in the New York countryside, filled only with peace-loving hippies, become so fabled? Well, as these 30 striking images show, the festival spawned a plethora of ideas and influences. Fashion lines became inspired by more garish garments; musicians became energised with writing lyrics that stood for more than just the wants of their record labels, and ultimately, a younger generation dragged America into a new period of enlightenment and possibility.
Would-be festival-goers travelled far and wide to an event that captivated the minds and souls of millions of young Americans. Some even hitchhiked to the festival, which was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Woodstock gave thousands of suburban young folk living in the confines of their parent’s generation the opportunity to escape and meet all kinds of new and exciting people. It was even rumoured that many never returned home, and instead headed straight to the bright lights of New York City once the event had finished.