Bethel, New York
A month after two men landed on the freakin' moon, 500,000 guys and gals landed at White Lake, NY for the event that turned out to be the "high" point of the hippie era. Two stoned-out, mellow dudes, Michael Lang (promoter) and Artie Kornfeld (song writer and record producer†), hooked-up with two straight-laced, Ivy League-ish MBAs, Joel Rosenman and John Roberts, who were looking to invest in "interesting business propositions." They certainly did. They had to ask their dads to sign notes for even more than the $250,000 that they started with. When it was over, they owed millions. 25 years later, with royalties coming in, they were more than paid back. The show was put together in the spring and early summer and was close to being cancelled when the town officials in Wallkill, NY (the original concert site—never was planned for Woodstock) decided that they didn't want a bunch of dirty hippies mussing up their beautiful town. Thankfully, dairy farmer and great guy, Max Yasgur was willing to allow the promoters to use one of his fields in Bethel (for a price). Taking Woodstock, Ang Lee's fun 40th anniversary movie, is mostly accurate in how the deal was done. But, you've heard all this before. We're here for the music, which was pretty damn good. As was the whole vibe. Drove up Thursday to set up campsite (BTW, those are my tickets in the montage). Friday night's affair was pretty mellow. Saturday started pretty hot and just got better. Sunday, I had to drive back down to Rockland County and pick up a friend. Missed the rainstorm driving back, went straight to the tent where we were all staying, and didn't get out again til Monday afternoon. I understand Sunday/Monday was pretty good, too! When the movie and then the triple album set came out, most of this was new stuff to me. The album hit #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart and the movie did boffo box-office. Listed below are the memories that I missed out on. Looks like lots of folks had a pretty good time!
†Artie co-wrote The Rain, The Park And Other Things. See more at 45cat.
Friday, Aug 15 (5:00pm - 2:00am Saturday)
Ravi Shankar(~12:00am, rain interupts)
Saturday, Aug 16 (2:15pm - 10:00am Sunday)
Country Joe McDonald(~2:50pm)
Keef Hartley Band(~5:00pm)
Incredible String Band(~6:20pm)
Creedence Clearwater Revival(~12:45am)
Sly & The Family Stone(~3:30am)
Sunday, Aug 17 (2:50pm - 10:00am Monday)
Country Joe & The Fish(~7:20pm)
Ten Years After(~9:00pm)
Blood Sweat & Tears(~2:00am)
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young(~3:45am)
Paul Butterfield Blues Band(~5:30am)
A festival goer, Dave Tiedemann, took notes of when the artists appeared on stage. You can see his notebook towards the end of this Youtube video. As a result, all the start times above have been adjusted. Updated the Set List PDF to include thos time changes and added four pages of neato ephemera photos, including the original poster and what music was on the charts that week. Check it out! 2021: Added four more pages—some singles and some books.
|Woodstock Performers' Set Lists|
Updated! Complete set lists for all Woodstock performers. Now with eight pages of ephemera photos!
The blog on the Bethel Woods website has detailed info for each performer. Fascinating reading.
|Network News Coverage: "Walter & others," 8/18/69,|
How the Big 3 Networks reacted to our field of dreams.
|Woodstock(Mar 26, 1970)|
|5/11/70 1 [UK: 6/70] #35|
|John Sebastian||I Had A Dream||2:35|
|Canned Heat||Going Up The Country||3:20|
|[Chip Monck]||stage announcements|
|Country Joe & the Fish||Rock & Soul Music||2:08|
|Arlo Guthrie||Coming Into Los Angeles||2:07|
|Sha Na Na||At The Hop||2:00|
|Country Joe McDonald||The 'Fish' Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin-To-Die Rag||3:15|
|Joan Baez (with Jeffrey Shurtleff)||Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man||2:07|
|Joan Baez||Joe Hill||2:40|
|[John Morris]||stage announcements|
|Crosby, Stills & Nash||Suite: Judy Blue Eyes||8:11|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young||Sea Of Madness||3:24|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young||Wooden Ships||5:27|
|The Who||We're Not Gonna Take It||4:25|
|[Hugh Romney]||stage announcements|
|Joe Cocker||With A Little Help From My Friends||7:40|
|rainstorm, crowd sounds, announcements, and general hysteria|
|crowd rain chant||2:20|
|[Muskrat]||stage announcements(NY Times)|
|Ten Years After||I'm Going Home||9:20|
|Sly & The Family Stone||Dance To The Music||2:10|
|I Want To Take You Higher||4:07|
|John Sebastian||Rainbows All Over Your Blues||2:10|
|Butterfield Blues Band||Love March||7:45|
|Jimi Hendrix||The Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze & Instrumental Solo||12:45|
Note: Sea Of Madness recorded at the Fillmore East (close, really), Coming Into Los Angeles came in from Los Angeles,
Hendrix was Popeil'd, and most other performances edited or "sweetened" due to technical glitches on site.
|Music from the original soundtrack and more|
and less... There are differences between this "soundtrack" album and the actual soundtrack. Click the Blue note for details.
|Release date conundrum|
Most references to the album show a release date of 3/26. That's the date the movie premiered. The album was released on 5/11 (according to a few other sources). By looking at the Billboard Top 200 chart data, the date the album debuted was 6/6 and reached #1 on 7/11 (spending 68 weeks total). To me, there is no way that the album from a very popular rock music movie (with heavy FM airplay) would have sat around in stores under-bought for that long of a time (2+ months).
|3/71 BB [UK: 6/71]|
|Jimi Hendrix||Jam Back At The House||6:09|
|Get My Heart Back Together||8:02|
|Jefferson Airplane||Saturday Afternoon/Won't You Try||4:52|
|Eskimo Blue Day||6:00|
|Butterfield Blues Band||Everything's Gonna Be Alright||8:36|
|Joan Baez||Sweet Sir Galahad||3:27|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young||Guinnevere||5:04|
|4 + 20||2:10|
|Melanie||My Beautiful People||3:45|
|Birthday Of The Sun||3:21|
|Mountain||Blood Of The Sun||3:05|
|Theme For An Imaginary Western||4:44|
|Canned Heat||Woodstock Boogie||12:55|
|Audience During Sunday Rainstorm||Let The Sunshine In||:50|
Note: The Mountain tracks were not recorded at Woodstock
The release date of this album was moved back to 3/71 (from 5/71), as the album entered the Billboard charts on 4/10.
|Woodstock - 25th Anniversary Collection|
|Atlantic 82636 (4-CD)|
|Selections from above two albums, plus the following additional material:|
|Richie Havens||Handsome Johnny||5:47|
|Tim Hardin||If I Were A Carpenter||2:53|
|Arlo Guthrie||Walking Down The Line||5:11|
|Canned Heat||A Change Is Gonna Come/Leaving This Town||7:56|
|Going Up The Country||4:14|
|Creedence Clearwater Revival||Commotion||2:45|
|Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won't Do)||3:41|
|I Put A Spell On You||4:34|
|Janis Joplin||Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)||4:15|
|Work Me Lord||7:53|
|Ball & Chain||5:40|
|Jefferson Airplane||Somebody To Love||4:37|
|Uncle Sam Blues||6:09|
|Joe Cocker||Let's Go Get Stoned||5:42|
|The Band||Long Black Veil||3:12|
|Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever||5:05|
|Johnny Winter||Mean Town Blues||4:46|
|Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young||Find The Cost Of Freedom||3:12|
|Jimi Hendrix||Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)/Stepping Stone||12:10|
Note: Although there are some "new" tracks in this set, a lot of the stage banter and other bits were edited out.
Nice, but wait a few years...
|The Mother Load†|
|For the 40th anniversary in 2009, Rhino put out a massive 6-CD set that set a new standard. Contains all of the above (with restored edits) and much more. Plus, in the original issue, a beautiful 80-page book. And special Target or QVC bonus disc bundles. Conspicuous in its absence is one of the most famous Woodstock memories: I'm Going Home by Ten Years After. Some idiot decided against okaying that track...
Sony/Legacy jumped in with five Woodstock Experience 2-CD sets pairing albums of the time with complete sets at Woodstock for Winter, Airplane, Santana, Joplin & Sly. A&M released the Joe Cocker set and Rhino records, as a bonus disc to a massive box set, Paul Butterfield. Jimi's got plenty of choices, all without Larry Lee's two songs!
Don't forget the DVD sets... Can't wait for the 50th!!
†Looks kinda puny compared to what's next!
|The Big One|
Well, dreams do come true! For the 50th, Rhino released a mammoth 38-CD box with all but 3 songs that were played that weekend. One Sha Na Na track and the two Larry Lee songs in the Hendrix set. Andy Zax and crew (@ NPR, All Songs Considered) did an amazing job in bringing these tracks back to life. CS&N&Y, The Who, Ten Years After, Arlo—they all sound better than sitting in a bowl some 300' away from the stage! Sure, there were problems in setting up and recording (not to mention wacked out performers), but it's real, man! Of course, the $800 box sold out rather quickly (check eBay for a laugh), but Rhino has many other combinations to purchase.
|Besides CSN&Y's famous recording of Joni's Woodstock, here are some other songs about the good times had by all:|
|Joni Mitchell's Woodstock Variations|
|Woodstock||Joni Mitchell (Ladies Of The Canyon)||4/70|
|She debuted the song at||The Assembled Multitude (45)||10/70|
|Big Sur in September||Matthews' Southern Comfort (45)||11/70|
|Bonnie Raitt (3/27/71, Syracuse University)||3/71|
|Joni Mitchell with L A Express(Miles Of Aisles)||11/74|
|Eva Cassidy (Time After Time)||6/2000|
|Other Woodstock Songs|
|Going To Bethel||Route 17 (45) Youtube link||10/69|
|In The Peaceful Valley (Woodstock '69)||Steve Duboff (45) Youtube link||10/69|
|Woodstock||Thomas & Richard Frost (Visualise CD)†||rec late/69|
|Return To Woodstock||Jackie Watts (45)||late/69|
|For Yasgur's Farm||Mountain (Climbing)||3/70|
|Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)||Melanie & The Edwin Hawkins Singers (Candles In The Rain)||4/70|
|The Spirit Of Woodstock (Remains In America Today)||Ernie Maresca (45)||9/69|
|Shakin' Stevens & The Sunsets (UK 45)||8/70|
|I Wish I Could Have Been There (Woodstock)||John Denver (Whose Garden Was This)||10/70|
|Woodstock Nation||Cosmic Michael (After A While) •||?/70|
Note: †Record shelved by Imperial, finally released in 2002 by Rev-Ola
|In England in November, 1968, a Muswell Hill* group called Turquiose released a 45 with "Woodstock" • as the A-side. Although the song is not about the festival, listening to the lyrics, it seems they had such a place in mind!|
*home of The Kinks
|A small band of comedians wrote a scathing send-up of Woodstock that played for several months at The Village Gate in 1973. They dubbed it: the Woodchuck Festival: Three Days of Peace, Love, and Death. Most of the cast went onto bigger things.|
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