On August 13, two days before the festival’s start, there were already traffic jams caused by the exodus of people making their way to the festival grounds in an attempt to get there early and grab a spot before it gets too crowded.
Woodstock’s organizers had prepared for a crowd of 150,000, but by the second day of the festival, somewhere between 400,000 to 500,000 had already descended upon Max Yasgur’s dairy farm.
The Impact Thereafter
Thanks to all the coverage in the media, Woodstock had an impact far beyond its actual borders. Following Woodstock, an eponymous documentary film, the year was released to critical acclaim and distribution across the United States.
It really felt like it was a time for social and cultural change, mainly due to population demographics. According to the US Census Bureau, 36% of the US population was under 18 in 1960. A youth movement was underway.
Despite the logistical nightmares and unexpected crowds, Woodstock went off relatively hitch-free. There were barely any reported crimes, and surprisingly not nearly as many fatalities as most skeptics were expecting.
The counterculture mantra of love and peace won out with an audience that almost reached half a million and it brought people together from all over the country.
Waiting for the Bus
Like all music festivals, Woodstock showcased the younger generation wearing the new styles — from bell bottoms and crop tops to knit dresses. Here we see a group as they wait for a bus to take them to the festival grounds.
Fashions of the era represented youth, from the colorful outfits that reflected vibrant optimism and expressed a romantic yearning for an equal society.
Here we have another view of just how big and expansive the crowd was at the opening ceremony. Swami Satchidananda first came to America in 1966; Yoga was mostly unknown here.
Health food stores only contained bottles of vitamin supplements and photos of bodybuilders. When people heard of the word yogi, they thought of a popular cartoon. All this changed when Swami Satchidananda arrived, and since his appearance at Woodstock, his ideas and teachings slowly seeped throughout America.