by Debby Lee
Sometimes, with the most nonchalant of actions, people make history and they don’t even realize it. Forty-two years ago today, thousands of people walked on to a humble dairy farm in upstate New York, and did just that. They made history.
They traveled from the farthest corners of America in psychedelic buses and Volkswagen Beatles to sway to the rhythm of the music. While most people know about one of the greatest rock concerts of the 20th century, many may not know all the interesting facts behind the story. Here are a few.
-Woodstock was originally scheduled to be held in Wallkill New York. The city got nervous and backed out on a technicality at the last minute. Because of this, the concert nearly didn’t take place.
- In April of 1969, Credence Clearwater Revival was the first band to sign on and agree to play at the concert.
-The first performer on stage was Ritchie Havens who began on Friday. He wasn’t scheduled to be first but many musicians were stuck in traffic and were unable to arrive on time. Jimi Hendrix was the last performer who wrapped things up on Monday.
-The concert actually took place closer to the town of Bethel and not the town of Woodstock as many people might assume. Bethel is 43 miles from Woodstock.
-The cost of attending Woodstock for three days was 18 dollars. Tickets were sold in advance. Many people attended for free due to a combination of overcrowding and unprepared concert organizers.
-The Who had the longest play list with 24 songs. The Quill had the shortest with a performance of only one song.
-Charles Schultz is said to have named one of his Peanuts characters Woodstock, in honor of the music festival.
-Max Yasger died of a heart attack in 1973. He received a full page obituary in Rolling Stone magazine for his contribution to music. A rare honor indeed. Thank you Mr. Yasger.
I would have loved to have attended the music and arts festival of the century, but I was only three years old at the time. I missed out on the peace, the love and the camaraderie, and yes, the mud, the cold and the hunger too. But sometimes great moments are a combination of hitting the high notes with perfect pitch and playing off key in a tone deaf band.
So, next time life throws some glitches into your melody, try to learn something from the experience and love your brothers in the process. You never know, you just might be making history.
Thank you for taking the time to stroll down memory lane with me. I hope you enjoyed the journey. Look for my short story, Butterflies Are Free, coming soon from Books to Go Now. Feel free to visit my newly updated web site at booksbydebbylee.com
Question of the day. How many Woodstock performers can you name? Hint: a few are named in the article. Answer the question in the comment section of the blog and be entered to win a Woodstock button (not from the actual festival) and a copy of my short story Butterflies Are Free, when it comes out.