Woodstock Festival

Woodstock has been idealized in the American popular culture as the culmination of the hippie movement  a free festival where nearly 500,000 “flower children” came together to celebrate. Hippie activist Abbie Hoffman crystallized this view of the event in his book, Woodstock Nation, written shortly afterwards.

Woodstock Festival

Although the festival was remarkably peaceful given the number of people and conditions involved, the reality was less than perfect. Woodstock did have some crime and other misbehavior, as well as a fatality from a drug overdose, an accidental death caused by an occupied sleeping bag being run over by a tractor and one participant died from falling off a scaffold. There were also three miscarriages and two births recorded at the event and colossal logistical headaches. Furthermore, because Woodstock was not intended for such a large crowd, there were not enough resources such as portable toilets and first-aid tents. There was some profiteering in the sale of “electric Kool-Aid.”

Woodstock began as a profit-making venture; it only became a free festival after it became obvious that the concert was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for, and that the fence had been torn down by eager, unticketed arrivals. Tickets for the event (sold in 1969) cost US$18 to buy a ticket in advance (which would be US$95.58 in 2005 with inflation factored in) and $24 to buy a ticket at the gate for all three days. Ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a Post Office Box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan.

Yet, in tune with the idealistic hopes of the 1960s, Woodstock satisfied most attendees. Especially memorable were the sense of social harmony, the quality of music, and the overwhelming mass of people, many sporting bohemian dress, behavior, and attitudes.

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3 Responses

  1. Metallica Fan says:

    Woodstock was a good thing once upon a time. Today is to commercial for me. 🙁

  2. Bill says:

    I guess you got a good grade on this term paper son but what is your point? You clearly weren’t there and I don’t remember seeing any “Bohemians” or that many “flower children” either. Most of us “dressed up” in jeans caked with mud.

    What we did see and hear were some of the best bands of our time playing the music we loved.

    As for the audience that showed up, most of us didn’t even have tickets. We just went because we were “invited” to a party and it turned into a hell of a party.

    It did show us one thing though; There were a lot of us and I think it was then that we realized that we had power “together” – power for PEACE. I have one question for you son. We ended our unjust war, when is your generation going to rise up and end yours?

  3. Cash Advance says:

    Wonderful view covering Woodstock Festival! Thoroughly love your point of view.

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