Woodstock 101

Four days that changed the world

The history of Woodstock is the history of the turbulent '60s in microcosm. It was all there in a muddy pasture on an upstate New York dairy farm: the Viet Nam war, the distrust of government, the culture of sex, drugs, and rock music. Our Woodstock 101 encompasses the event, the music, and the people of the 1969 Woodstock festival.

The People of Woodstock

Some of the Woodstock audience
© Henry Diltz, courtesy of Rhino Entertainment

There were the four unlikely partners who organized and staged it. There were the more than three dozen artists who performed. And there were the unexpected hundreds of thousands who endured August heat, rain and mud to witness (and become a part of) history. These are the people of Woodstock.

The Woodstock Organizers
A military man, a lounge band guitarist, a record label executive, a rock band manager.

The Woodstock Performers
Some went on to stardom, others to obscurity. But they'll always have Woodstock.

Witness to Woodstock
How a Long Island teenager became a witness to history.

• Woodstock Photos by Henry Diltz
Musician-turned-photographer captured Woodstock on film.

The Music of Woodstock

Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock
© Henry Diltz, courtesy of Rhino Entertainment

Woodstock's place in music history is legend. It was a career changer for some artists, a sales boost for others. A few slipped into obscurity. Thanks to a wealth of audio and video recordings, nearly all of those historic performances are still available.

Memorable Woodstock Performances
Not all the Woodstock performances were gems, but these have stood the test of time very well.

Woodstock Releases and Reissues
It was the best of times for some, the worst for others. These 40th anniversary compilations capture some of the best.

Woodstock 40 Years On box set
77 tracks on 6 CDs, in the order they were performed.

The Woodstock Experience box set
Five festival performances and the artists' 1969 studio releases.

The History of Woodstock

Part of the Woodstock audience
Photo by Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell, licensed under GNU Free Documentation License

During one long, hot, rainy weekend in August 1969, what happened on a dairy farm in upstate New York changed the course of rock, and stamped an indelible image on American culture.

• Woodstock's Legacy
What Woodstock was, and wasn't

How Woodstock Changed the World
After the festival ended that those who attended discovered that they had made history.

• The Story Behind Max Yasgur's Farm
Taking Woodstock by Elliot Tiber recounts how Max Yasgur's farm became the venue for Woodstock.

• Woodstock Trivia
It's the backstories that often are the most interesting.

• Woodstock Photos
Heat, rain and mud didn't do much to break the spirit of the 450,000 who shared a place in history.

The Anniversary of Woodstock

Janis Joplin at Woodstock
© Henry Diltz, courtesy of Rhino Entertainment

What makes the anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock festival so compelling? Just think of what a different place the world is today. The long-haired, tie-dyed, VW bus-borne idealists who swarmed Max Yasgur's farm in upstate New York on that hot, muddy summer weekend became the moms, dads, lawyers, teachers, engineers and artists who will live out the next 40 years looking at the world much differently than when peace, love and flower power reigned.

• Woodstock Weekend Main Events
At the original festival site

• Going Back to Yasgur's Farm in 2009
Commemorating the anniversary

• Richie Havens Returns to Woodstock
First Woodstock performer returns for encore

• Heroes of Woodstock
Original performers tour