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WoodStock music festival, took place near Woodstock New York, on August 15, 16, and
17, 1969, and became a symbol of the 1960’s American counterculture and a
milestone in the were often referred to as hippies and who characteristically rejected
hartred and authority, protested against the Vietnam War, supported the civil rights
movement, dressed differently, and experimented with sex and illegal use of drugs.
Woodstock began by four partners Michael Lang, the manager of a rock band,
Artie Kronfeld, an executive at Capitol Records, and two capitalists, John Roberts and
Joel Rosenman. Their original plan had been to build a recording studio in Woodstock, a
small town in the Catskill Mountains that had become a rock center when musician Bob
Dylan and a rock group called the Band settled there. To getout the word the four
partners decided to have a concert, which they called WoodStock Music and Art Fair.
The festival was expected to attract 50,000 to 100,000 people. After a long search for
a large enough space, the partners eventually rented a field from a local dairy farmer,
Max Yasgur, who owned land about 48miles from Woodstock, in the town of Bethel.
Early in the week before the festival, it became clear that the event as going to
draw a much larger audience than expected. By the day before the official opening, traffic
jams miles long blocked most roads leading to the area. On Friday, August 15, when the
festival began, its management was unable to watch the estimated 400,000 or more
people coming into and out of the field and decided to end admission fees. Sweetwater, the
band scheduled to open the festival, could not get to the site because of the traffic, so
folksinger Richie Havens, who was already there, began the festival instead. As a result
of the audience size, volunteers from inside and out helped with any possible problems:
Helicopters flew in food, doctors, and medical supplies, along with many of the musical
acts that were scheduled to appear.
The festival caused some inconvenience to the surrounding communities and some
area residents were suspicious of the looks and behavior of the young people who attended.
Yet the festival was peaceful. The event, thought by some to mark a high point in the
American counterculture History
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Counterculture of the 1960s, Woodstock Festival, Catskills, Concerts, Free festivals, Woodstock, Michael Lang, Max Yasgur, Sweetwater, Joel Rosenman, Hippie, John P. Roberts
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