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 (posted January 3, 2018)
  5. Keef Hartley Band (posted August 7, 2018—sorry for the gap, but we’ll try to catch up)
  6. Incredible String Band (posted August 7, 2018)
  7. Canned Heat (posted August 8, 2018)
  8. Mountain (posted August 8, 2018)
  9. Grateful Dead (posted August 8, 2018)
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival (posted August 8, 2018)
  11. Janis Joplin (posted August 8, 2018)
  12. Sly & The Family Stone (posted August 8, 2018)
  13. The Who (September 6, 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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13 Comments on “50 Years of Peace & Music | Introduction

  1. I was only 9 when the Woodstock Music and Art Festival took place, but I’ve always been fascinated by all it was and all it means! I have a son who’s now 22, and I’m thrilled that he’s obsessed with all music and culture from the 60s and 70s. He and his friends travel to music festivals all over the country, and I just surprised them by telling them about the 50th anniversary – AND told them that I have a rental home booked for us for the anniversary week that’s 10 minutes from Bethel Woods! They are over the moon ecstatic! They just graduated from college and have “real” jobs now, but my son and a friend just bought a small bus they’re renovating to take to festivals that they can DJ out of. You can be sure they (and I) will be in that bus listening to all the music from 1969 the whole way there! We eagerly await our trip and can’t wait to hear about the events that are being planned!

  2. My wife and I visited Bethel Woods in 2015. We became members and it is one of the best things we did. We were not able to go because of our parents. I would recommend this venue for everyone to visit, even if it is once. Woodstock brought all type of people together for PEACE, LOVE AND MUSIC. We need more of that in this world. Bethel Woods is doing this with the music and being A National Historic Site. Can’t wait for 2019!!!!!!!!! We will be there.

  3. I was 17 years old that historical August working a summer job in Honesdale Pa. I was not aware of the concert @ the time, but started seeing a lot of hitchikers starting wednesday & by thursday i knew something big was up so i stopped & asked 2 girls where they were going. I could not get any of my friends to go. I have been a member of Bethel Woods since opening, I will NOT miss the 50th anniv.

  4. What are the dates in Aug. 2019 for the Woodstock shows? Need to make plans to be there..

  5. Attn: Wade Lawrence. [Do share this w/ Historian: Scott Parker.]

    Re: Joe Cocker and Band – Setting the Record Straight
    Percussionist/Conga Player – Bobby Torres – performed Woodstock w/ Joe Cocker. He is hardly credited … anywhere! Shame, shame ….

    Maybe it’s time to set the record straight, y’all ….

    Maybe best to interview him, as ‘Living History,’ for the Woodstock Joe Cocker blog and more. Of note: Mr. Torres is an active musician in the Portland, Oregon area, where he lives with his brilliant and talented family (of … musicians.).

    /////

    • Hi Ti. Sorry for the delay in responding. We haven’t posted the Joe Cocker blog post yet (it’s scheduled for early November), but our research definitely shows Bobby Torres as a member of The Grease Band at Woodstock, and it will be included in the blog post. Not sure where we have omitted him, but if you let us know, we’ll correct it.
      –Wade

  6. 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!

  7. 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?

  8. 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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