50 Years of Peace & Music | Introduction

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, August 1969–2019


A monthly blog series about the musicians of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair

For 32 months, from January 2017 to the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival in August 2019, we will post the story of the 32 musical acts that performed at the most famous rock festival in history. Visit us here on the first Thursday of every month between now and August 2019.

Woodstock brought together some of best musical acts of the era—Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Santana, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone, and many more. The media attention before and during the three-day festival made Woodstock famous around the world, and the three-hour documentary released in 1970 made international stars of all the groups featured in the movie. Not all the performances were featured in the film. Whether because of time limitations, technical problems with sound, filming, or lighting, or because of misunderstandings among performers, managers, and film production people, a number of exceptional performances went virtually unnoticed by the public.

In an effort to set the record straight and give all the performers their due for their contribution to the Woodstock festival, this blog series shines a spotlight on ALL of the musical performers from those three days of peace and music.

A special “thank you” goes out to the musicians who have graciously shared their stories for this blog series. We are also grateful to the photographers who have allowed us to use their photographs here. Volunteer docents at The Museum at Bethel Woods have contributed greatly through their research and dedication to the true meaning of Woodstock. Finally, a shout-out to Scott Parker, an independent historian of the Woodstock festival and one of the driving forces behind the grassroots Woodstock Complete project (Google it. It’s amazing) for setting the record straight on performance times and set lists. Thank you all.

Day 1: Friday, August 15, 1969 (ending Saturday morning, August 16)

  1. Richie Havens (posted January 5, 2017)
  2. Sweetwater (posted February 2, 2017)
  3. Bert Sommer (posted March 2, 2017)
  4. Tim Hardin (posted April 6, 2017)
  5. Ravi Shankar (posted May 4, 2017)
  6. Melanie (posted June 1, 2017)
  7. Arlo Guthrie (posted July 10, 2017)
  8. Joan Baez (posted August 7, 2017)

Day 2: Saturday, August 16, 1969 (ending Sunday morning, August 17)

  1. Quill (posted September 11, 2017)
  2. Country Joe McDonald (solo) (posted October 6, 2017)
  3. Santana (posted November 7, 2017)
  4. John Sebastian (to be posted December 2017)
  5. Keef Hartley Band (to be posted January 2018)
  6. Incredible String Band (to be posted February 2018)
  7. Canned Heat (to be posted March 2018)
  8. Mountain (to be posted April 2018)
  9. Grateful Dead (to be posted May 2018)
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival (to be posted June 2018)
  11. Janis Joplin (to be posted July 2018)
  12. Sly & The Family Stone (to be posted August 2018)
  13. The Who (to be posted September 2018)
  14. Jefferson Airplane (to be posted October 2018)

Day 3: Sunday, August 17, 1969 (ending Monday morning, August 18)

  1. Joe Cocker (to be posted November 2018)
  2. Country Joe & The Fish (to be posted December 2018)
  3. Ten Years After (to be posted January 2019)
  4. The Band (to be posted February 2019)
  5. Johnny Winter (to be posted March 2019)
  6. Blood, Sweat & Tears (to be posted April 2019)
  7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (to be posted May 2019)
  8. the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (to be posted June 2019)
  9. Sha Na Na (to be posted July 2019)
  10. Jimi Hendrix (to be posted August 2019)

Wade Lawrence

Director & Sr. Curator, The Museum at Bethel Woods

Wade Lawrence – who has written posts on WoodsTalk | Bethel Woods Center for The Arts.


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4 Comments on “50 Years of Peace & Music | Introduction

  1. Woodstock, the single most profound event in the history of music. It was a ‘moment in time’ and the culmination of an era. It is the largest gathering of human beings in one place in history. The crowd reaching near a half million people sent a message to the world that individuals could come together peacefully to celebrate peace and music.

    The 50th anniversary should be a celebration of that era with music reminiscent to the actual event and the era. The event should be about the original attendants with opportunities to share their experiences. The music is key and should be prevalent to the original event and the era. My husband attended the original event. At the age of 18, He hitchhiked by himself from Long Island, all the way to the event. To this day, new stories still emerge. He can find himself in the crowd of people pictured on the covers of the Woodstock 25th Anniversary magazine, Life Magazine and others!

  2. I keep hearing that Santana has already signed on for the 50th celebration…..is the 50th celebration concert going to be at Bethel Woods? If so, when can we expect tickets to go on sale? I definitely want to be there and know that it is going to take planning. Will the dates coincide with the original concert dates?

  3. I was 16yrs old at the time and I was unable to attend. My boyfriend at the time and later my husband went. The stories he told me about the weekend were so amazing to hear.He said even though the weather sucked It was a time in his life he will NEVER FORGET! I am SO looking forward the the 50th Anniversary! I WILL BE THERE THIS TIME!!!

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