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44 years ago today on August 15th, 1969 the Woodstock Music & Art Fair opened with thirty-two musicians and bands performing over a period of four days in Bethel, New York. 400,000 people attended; two deaths were recorded (heroin overdose and run over by a tractor) and two births were also recorded.
The full line-up:
August 15th / 16th: Richie Havens, Swami Satchidananda, Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, and Joan Baez (who was six months pregnant)
August 16th / 17th: Quill, Country Joe McDonald, Santana, John Sebastian, Keef Hartley Band, The Incredible String Band, Canned Heat, Mountain, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band, Sly & the Family Stone, The Who, and Jefferson Airplane
August 17th / 18th: Joe Cocker and The Grease Band, Country Joe and the Fish, Ten Years After, The Band, Johnny Winter (with Edgar Winter on three songs), Blood, Sweat & Tears, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sha Na Na, and Jimi Hendrix / Gypsy Sun & Rainbows
Acts that declined attendance to the festival because of ridiculous reasons:
Bob Dylan for fear of swarming hippies.
Jethro Tull for fear of naked ladies.
Led Zeppelin had a concert in New Jersey.
Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention heard about the oncoming rain and did not want to perform around all of the mud.
Joni Mitchell didn’t want to miss her appearance on the “Dick Cavett Show" even though Jefferson Airplane and Crosby & Stills appeared on the Show the following Tuesday after performing at Woodstock.
The Doors because Jim Morrison had a fear of wide open fields where people could easily shoot him.
The Beatles because Yoko Ono wasn’t invited, John Lennon couldn’t get a Visa to the United States because of his drug arrests, or the fact that they hadn’t played a gig since 1966.
The Rolling Stones because Mick Jagger was filming a movie (Ned Kelly) in Australia.
Eric Clapton was in England with Steve Winwood trying to get their supergroup Blind Faith off the ground… it was unsuccessful.
In 1970 the Woodstock documentary of the festival was released and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. A live album was also realeased following the festival. Woodstock is the most widely recognized music festival to ever take place.