Though the 50th anniversary festival was cancelled, Woodstock '69 remains as one of the greatest music events in history. This week, we dug up some of our vintage Woodstock tees to commemorate the bands, the vibes, and the mess.
This rare Crosby, Stills Nash & Young t-shirt features their 1969 album cover, just a year after the group's formation. CSNY's performance at Woodstock '69 was pivotal in their success.
The stories from Woodstock '69 paint the festival as both chaotic and harmonious. The performances are remembered just as vividly as the crowd, traffic, rain, and mud by the nearly half a million attendees.
Taking place on a 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York, Woodstock '69 epitomized American counterculture in the 60s. The unprepared festival grounds expected 50,000 attendees max. But as the crowd began arriving, it was clear they had far surpassed that maximum, forced to cede the construction of an admission entrance or fences and instead allowed everyone in for free.
Attendees tell tales of the lawlessness they endured to witness performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash, Arlo Guthrie, Melanie, Santana, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and Sly and the Family Stone to name a few. Jimi Hendrix closed the festival on the following Monday morning, after most of the crowd had dissipated.
Despite the rain devolving the festival grounds into a mudslide, and the lack of security and food, the overall social harmony prevailed throughout the weekend. However, media coverage painted a deceitful picture of the event, emphasizing the "dirty hippie" attendees, poor organization, and health concerns.
But concert footage and photography prevailed against the media's representations, and before long, having made it to Woodstock and survived was a triumph like no other, and merchandise was worn like a trophy.
On the 25th anniversary of Woodstock '69, two more days of peace and love were held in Saugerties, New York for Woodstock '94. This time around, festival organizers were committed to making a profit off the massive concert, charging higher admission, introducing corporate sponsorship, as well as inflating vendor and food prices. Styles made popular from the original concert were reused and resold to market the '94 festival as a continuation of the past.
Bob Dylan, who declined the invitation to perform at the 1969 festival, headlined in '94. Other top Woodstock '94 acts included The Cranberries, Sheryl Crow, Aphex Twins, Jackyl, Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith, Metallica, Salt N Pepa, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Both Woodstock '69 and '94 maintained an atmosphere of positive energy, despite the lack of rules and order. In 1999, the Woodstock franchise witnessed its biggest disaster, as violence, sexual assault, and looting defamed the festival's integrity for future generations.
Though it was cancelled, promotional materials for the Woodstock 50 lineup included contemporary artists like The Killers, Janelle Monae, Miley Cyrus, and Halsey alongside artists at the '69 festival such as members of the Grateful Dead, David Crosby, John Fogerty, Santana, Melanie, and Canned Heat.