Ex hippies, yuppies and college students of a certain age may remember, in the summer of 1969, seeing ads for "3 Days of Peace and Music" posted around Greenwich Village in New York City, college campuses, and other places where the young and hip were likely to find it.
I almost got to the Woodstock Festival myself - entirely by accident! My fiancee and I had planned to go for the weekend upstate to the Concord Hotel & Resort in Monticello, NY, where I had previously worked.
We were surprised to find heavy traffic on route 9W that seemed more like weekday rush hour traffic than that of a typical Saturday. As the traffic became stop-and-go and finally ground to a halt, I began to be concerned that there might be a serious accident ahead.
Finally, after waiting at a standstill for quite a long time, i decided that it might be better to turn around and go back home rather than possibly be stuck on the road all night.
It was only after we were home that we found out the real reason for the delays: a little noticed rock festival had become a seminal event, with so many youths unexpectedly arriving that they finally crashed the fences and got past the promoters, who then wisely decided to make the rest of the festival free.
Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, Roger Daltry, Country Joe & the Fish and other stars of the day attained iconic status after Woodstock. Other festivals tried to copy the success of Woodstock afterward, but none ever achieved the popularity or the peaceful behavior of the original.
Update: one of the four original Woodstock promoters tried to create a 40th Anniversary festival for August of 2009, but was forced to call it off after being unable to raise the necessary $8-10 million from sponsors to finance and promote it...
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