by Amber Hayman
Imagine going to a concert that lasted three and a half days. For peace and music lovers of 1969, this was the place to be; it was called Woodstock.
Woodstock took place in Bethel, N.Y. at Max Yasgur’s pasture forty years ago. It started at 5:07 p.m. on Friday, August 15th, and stretched through mid-morning on Monday the 18th. It took six months to plan for Woodstock and it cost $500,000 to run the whole show. It was estimated that over 400,000 people showed up when they only expected 60,000. These people varied from anti-war protesters to Vietnam veterans and rednecks. All of these people endured little or no sleep, lack of food, sparse sanitation facilities, and drugs and alcohol. Also, over an hour of heavy rain with no shelter made the area covered with mud. With all of these people and their trash, it took less than five days to clean up the whole 600 acres.
The negative side of all of the peace and love was that there were three deaths; one by a heroine overdose, one by a ruptured appendix, and one run over by a tractor. But, on the bright side of it all, two babies were brought into the world. There were a few drug busts, but no reports of burglary. Trespassing was a definite problem though, and a judge did get his lights knocked out.
There were so many people there that traffic jams were up to twenty miles long, and some people had to walk 15 miles from their cars to the field. Some facts state that the cost was $24 for a three day ticket and $8 dollars for a one day ticket. The total tickets sold reached 186,000! Also, with over 400,000 people, there were only 600 port-o-johns, so you do the math. The farmer fired ten shots into the air because he was fed up with the noise. One crazy thing is that there were 10 million yards of stripped clothes!
There were thirty-one musical acts that included The Who, Blood Sweat and Tears, Janis Joplin, CCR, Santana, and Jimi Hendrix, with only forty minutes in between gigs.
Richie Haven was the first musician to kick off the three day event, with Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem and then fading into "Purple Haze" to end the whole event. Actually, Jimi Hendrix wasn’t the first choice to end the whole shebang, it was supposed to be Roy Rogers with "Happy Trails", who Michael Lang the co-producer tried to book. The cost for some of these performers was $1,500 dollars for Santana, $7,500 for Grateful Dead, and $11,200 dollars for The Who.
In 1994, Michael Wadleigh made a three-hour movie about Woodstock, and called it "Woodstock" -- go figure. This movie made over $50 million dollars at the box office. The movie was so long that if you were to stretch out the film it would reach a length of 315,000ft! It included some opinions and views of the performers, music lovers, and last but not least, the hippies.