A handful of prominent bands spurned invitations to perform at Woodstock. The Byrds were invited but declined to play. Said bassist John York, “By that time we had no idea what it was going to be. We were tired of the festival scene… So all of us said, ‘No, we want a rest’ and missed the best festival of all.”
The Doors also declined an invitation to perform at Woodstock, supposing it would be a “second class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival.” Guitarist Robby Krieger said it was one of his biggest regrets as a musician.
Still, the festival represented a moment in which a generation of young people attained a critical mass for three days in a rural New York field. As such, it had a far-reaching impact and could be interpreted to pose a threat to society.
By focusing on negative, threatening images, such as the widespread use of illegal substances and deteriorating public safety, media coverage tended to reinforce the establishment's social order. While also declared disturbing questions about Woodstock attendees' mindset and marginalize the young generation's political standing.
Influential Musical Performances
Many of the festival's acts were forced to perform during the rain that troubled the proceedings. Here we see Ravi Shankar as he played the sitar during his performance on a Friday night.
Ravi was an Indian musician, composer, and founder of the National Orchestra of India; he was also influential in spurring Western appreciation of Indian music.
All the downpour of rain threatened the festival and delayed several performances while drenching the grounds and the attendees. Here, we see pictured men soaked while having fun in the mud.
The ground on which two or three hundred thousand kids were sitting was begging to be turned back into the mud, and it got its wish, and it couldn't have mattered less to anyone.
Defining its Own Culture
Woodstock proved to be a milestone in coverage of the music scene and the broader media investigation of social and economic issues that affect younger citizens. After the Woodstock weekend, rock music and other matters concerning the American experience were no longer oddities.
In the aftermath of the festival, it was clear that the future had arrived when hundreds of thousands of people were part of a place that defined its own culture for three days.