festival was the most famous outdoor rock music concert of the 1960's. It was
also known as the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. The festival became a symbol of the
"Woodstock Nation," a group of young people during the late 1960's and early
1970's who were united by common beliefs, values, and lifestyles. These young people
distrusted authority and standard American values, and they supported the freedom to
openly experiment with drugs and sex.
Woodstock helped rock music become more popular and a bigger
business than ever. The festival and the documentary film Woodstock (1970) promoted a new
generation of performers whose music was more offbeat and varied than the hits played on
Top 40 radio programs. Songs that the music industry considered uncommercial but that
allowed musicians creative freedom of expression gained wide popularity as a result of the
festival. Musical highlights of the festival included the Grateful Dead; Jimi Hendrix;
Jefferson Airplane; Janis Joplin; Santana; and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
The Woodstock festival took place near Bethel in upstate New York on fields owned by a
farmer named Max Yasgur. It had been planned to be held in Wallkill, New York, near
Woodstock. However, promoters moved the event to Yasgur's fields after Wallkill residents
objected. Over 300,000 rock fans, many of whom were students, hippies, and opponents of
the Vietnam War, attended.
Woodstock ran from Aug. 15 to 17, 1969, which promoters called "Three Days of Peace
and Music." The festival remained peaceful even though conditions created a potential
for disaster. Rains drenched the crowd, and food and water supplies grew scarce. Despite
the problems, the concertgoers kept a spirit of communal celebration and harmony.