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Flashback: Woodstock Turns 50

Photo by Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Photo by Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

It was 50 years ago today — August 15th, 1969 — that the Woodstock Music and Art Fair began kicking off three days of music in Bethel, New York.

More than 450,000 people converged upon the small upstate town to hear rock’s biggest bands perform.

Although Woodstock, which officially ran on August 15th, 16th, and 17th, 1969, was neither the first nor last major festival concert, the fact that the youth of America were able to congregate in one place with no violence during one of the most turbulent years of the decade, gave birth to the notion of the “Woodstock Nation” and gave a voice — and a face — to the hippie ideal.

Artists who performed at the legendary festival included Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald & the Fish, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Mountain, Janis Joplin, the Who, the Band, Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Sha Na Na, John Sebastian, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Joe Cocker, and many, many more.

To check out the full lineup of the 1969 festival, log on to:

Side Notes:

Out now via Rhino Records is the massive new box set, Woodstock – Back To The Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive.

The set is limited to 1,969 individually numbered copies, featuring 38 discs, 432-tracks — including 267 previously unreleased performances and featuring “a near complete reconstruction of (the 1969) Woodstock (festival) clocking in at 36 hours, with every artist performance from the festival in chronological order.”

Also out now are 10-CD, three-CD, and five-LP vinyl versions of the box.

According to the press release for the set:

Woodstock – Back To The Garden is housed in a screen-printed plywood box with canvas insert inspired by the Woodstock stage set up, the set also includes a Blu-ray copy of the Woodstock film, a replica of the original program, a guitar strap, two Woodstock posters, a reprint of a diary written by an anonymous attendee during the festival, two 8-by-10 prints from legendary rock photographer Henry Diltz, and essays by Andy Zax, acclaimed music scribe Jesse Jarnow, and trailblazing rock critic Ellen Sander.

The archive also contains a copy of Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace & Music (Reel Art Press), a comprehensive new hardbound book about the event written by Michael Lang, one of the festival’s co-creators.