Richard Havers and legendary ‘Oo artist Richard Evans, who was the visual designer of thewho.com, have compiled a book on Woodstock, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. There are 256 pages plus over 200 photographs & Images. It’s out now and you can get it from Amazon and all good bookshops. The link below takes you to Amazon.
15 – 18 August 1969 – according to the song the people were half a million strong by the time they got to Woodstock. But in reality no one ever did get to Woodstock. Instead they made it to some alfalfa fields near Bethel – population 3,900 – a hundred miles north of New York City and 60 miles southwest of the town of Woodstock. The Aquarian Music and Art Fair was held at Max Yasgur’s farm in White Lake.
No one among the 500,000 people could have had any idea of just how important the festival would turn out to be. Given the size of the crowd it was all extremely peaceful, especially considering what they had to endure. There were rainstorms, people waited for long periods for something to happen; they also ran short of food, and water, but there seemed to be no shortage of drugs.
Woodstock was a cultural landmark waiting to happen. Ever afterwards people have tried to emulate it; just a few months later at another festival at Altamont Racetrack, near San Francisco it tragically ended with murder and the death of the 60’s dream. It just proves how thin the line between glory and failure can be. At Woodstock nobody kept notes, maybe because no one thought it was that important. It’s only as the telescope of history has gradually been extended that the cultural significance of the 3 days of peace and love has truly been recognised.
Woodstock tells the story of everything that made up that momentous August weekend. From Jimi Hendrix to Janis Joplin, The Who to Joan Baez and Crosby Stills Nash & Young to Joe Cocker. But Woodstock does much more than focus on the 60 odd hours during which events played out. It traces the history of every band that performed, what they performed, how they came to be there, and what effect it had on the careers. The book reveals how it all came to be, as well Woodstock’s lasting legacy.
Whoever it was that coined the phrase – ‘The Woodstock Nation’ – created the zeitgeist. It’s what spawned the ‘Woodstock Generation’. From the day that the festival ended until now, and probably forever, we keep polishing it, perpetuating the myth and reveling in the magic.