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 raising disturbing questions about Woodstock attendees’ mindset and marginalizing the young generation’s political standing.
It’s estimated that almost half a million people made the trek to a dairy farm in rural Bethel, New York for the infamous Woodstock Music and Arts Fair. With so many people traveling in the same direction, it’s no surprise that the traffic soon came to a standstill.
Tired of waiting in stop-and-go traffic going towards the fairgrounds, this group of young people decided to take a bit of a lunch break with this roadside picnic. Judging by their relaxed expressions, we’re sure they preferred to be sitting by the road instead of inside a stuffy car.
Two festival-goers rest between sets while reading a newspaper. With few places to catch a good rest, many Woodstock attendees had to make do with what they had, which was often just a blanket under the stars.
After the festival, many felt as if they were but fragments of their former selves; with such an eye-opening and remarkable experience, many left with a newfound sense of self.
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.
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.