Woodstock Music & Art Fair

In a time when Americans were deeply divided on everything from traditional societal structures to foreign wars, three days of peace and music seemed to be exactly what the world needed.

Woodstock Festival in 1969

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The Story of a Generation

On August 15, 1969, one of the most celebrated music festivals in history took place in a field in Bethel, NY. What followed was beyond anything anyone could have predicted. The cultural phenomenon no one foresaw transformed an ordinary field into a historic landmark where legendary performers played to more than 450,000 people. Unimaginable mud and unforgettable moments transformed Woodstock Music and Art Fair into a cultural rallying cry for an entire generation.

Woodstock History FAQs

  • What state did Woodstock take place?

    Woodstock took place in New York State just north of NYC.

  • What town did Woodstock take place?

    The Woodstock festival took place in the town of Bethel, NY. It was originally scheduled to take place in Woodstock, NY, but the location had to be changed. The organizers of the music festival kept the Woodstock name, however.

  • What year did Woodstock take place?

    The original Woodstock festival was held in 1969. There have been other anniversary festivals throughout the years, but the original was in 1969.

  • What day did Woodstock start?

    The Woodstock music festival began on Friday, August 15, 1969. It continued almost non-stop until Monday, August 18, 1969. The festival was supposed to end on Sunday, August 17th; however, due to multiple delays throughout the weekend, the final performance took place at 9:00 AM on Monday.

  • What was the first song played at Woodstock?

    The first song played at Woodstock was "From the Prison", performed by Richie Havens on Friday, August 15, 1969.

  • Who was the last performer at Woodstock?

    The final performer at Woodstock was Jimi Hendrix, perhaps one of the most recognized performances of the entire festival. He played for a crowd of 35,000 - 40,000 (most festival-goers had already gone home by that time) on Monday, August 18, 1969, at 9:00 AM.

  • What artists played at Woodstock?

    Of the 32 performances that took place at Woodstock, 13 performances were individual artists. They included:

    1. Richie Havens
    2. Bert Sommer
    3. Ravi Shankar
    4. Tim Hardin
    5. Melanie Safka
    6. Arlo Guthrie
    7. Joan Baez
    8. Country Joe McDonald
    9. John B. Sebastian
    10. Joe Cocker
    11. Janis Joplin
    12. Johnny Winter
    13. Jimi Hendrix

  • What bands performed at Woodstock?

    Of the 32 performances that took place at Woodstock, 19 of them were bands. They included:

    1. Sweetwater
    2. Quill
    3. Santana
    4. Keef Hartley Band
    5. The Incredible String Band
    6. Canned Heat
    7. Mountain
    8. The Grateful Dead
    9. Creedence Clearwater Revival
    10. The Who
    11. Jefferson Airplane
    12. Country Joe & The Fish
    13. Ten Years After
    14. The Band
    15. Sly & The Family Stone
    16. Blood, Sweat, & Tears
    17. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young
    18. Paul Butterfield Blues Band
    19. Sha Na Na

  • How many people went to Woodstock '69?

    Although there is no official count for the number of people who attended the historic music event, it is estimated that nearly 500,000 people were present at Woodstock '69 over the course of the 4-day festival.

  • How much did a Woodstock ticket cost?

    While the festival eventually became a "free concert" due to the unexpected crowds, the tickets that were sold were $18 in advance and $24 at the gate (these prices are equivalent to about $120 and $160 today).

  • Where can I see photos from Woodstock?

    In 2018, The Museum at Bethel Woods launched an online archive of photographs and videos collected from nearly 30 contributors– all bringing new life and context to the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair. The photographs capture candid moments from before, during and after the festival, each providing a glimpse into the everyday moments of the festival. The archive captures and preserves the joyous experiences of festival attendees – as well as the less-than-perfect aspects like the mud and the traffic jams on rural country roads.

Woodstock Today

  • Is Woodstock a National historic site?

    Yes, the site of the Woodstock music festival was added to the National Register of Historic Places in June 2017. The recognition allows for the continued preservation and protection of the site of one of the world's most iconic music festival.

  • Can you visit the Woodstock site today?

    Yes, visitors are welcome to view the Woodstock monument and walk the grounds of the historic music festival when visiting Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

  • Is there a museum for the Woodstock Festival?

    Yes, there are a few Woodstock museums. However, the official Woodstock museum at the site of the original festival can be found at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

  • Is Bethel Woods the actual location of Woodstock?

    Yes, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is on the grounds of the original 1969 Woodstock festival. The festival was originally slated to happen in Woodstock, NY, hence the name; however, due to permit changes, the organizers of the festival moved it to Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, NY, where Bethel Woods Center for the Arts now resides.

Did You or A Relative Attend the Woodstock Festival?

If you or a relative attended the Woodstock music festival and would like to join our Alumni Registry, please fill out and submit our survey! Peace, Love, & Music!

Think you know the story? Get ready for your visit to The Museum at Bethel Woods with these Festival Facts.

Woodstock Festival Facts

  • The Woodstock Festival wasn’t held in Woodstock. Woodstock Ventures, the organizers of the festival, had wanted to hold the festival in their company’s namesake village, but couldn’t find an available location large enough for the anticipated 100,000 people. They leased some land at an industrial park near Middletown, New York (in the town of Wallkill), secured the required permits, and began advertising the festival. With only a month to go before the August 15 festival start date, the permits were revoked, and Woodstock Ventures was forced to find another location. They were shown an alfalfa field with a natural amphitheater shape in the town of Bethel, and they quickly negotiated with the owner, Max Yasgur, to have their festival there. In one month, the promoters got the word out about the venue change, issued new posters and advertising, and constructed the festival site from scratch.
  • The communities around Sullivan County, especially Bethel, were not prepared for the crowds that began arriving. By Thursday, August 14, the roads and fields around the festival site were an enormous traffic jam.
  • The festival officially began just after 5 pm on Friday, August 15, 1969, with Richie Havens, going until 2 am the next morning, ending with Joan Baez.
  • On Saturday, August 16, the festival began at noon with Quill and ended after The Who played a 24-song set that started at 3 am.
  • Jimi Hendrix played what many consider to be the festival highlight, on Monday, August 18, when only 35,000 people—a small fraction of the crowd—remained.
  • Some residents did not embrace the crowds, yet others welcomed the visitors, supplying them with free food and water when it was apparent that Food For Love, the festival concessionaire, was not prepared to feed the massive crowd that gathered. The Hog Farm commune of New Mexico, hired to build a campsite on the grounds for attendees, opened the Free Kitchen serving macrobiotic, vegetarian meals.
  • First aid at the festival was provided by the Woodstock medical crew in a field hospital located near the stage. The team tended minor accidents, food poisoning, and an epidemic of cut feet since so many were going barefoot.
  • A “freak-out tent” was established for those suffering bad trips.
  • There have been no credible claims of anyone actually born at the festival, despite stage announcements that are heard in the Woodstock film and its soundtrack album. Evidence suggests that one baby was born en-route to the festival and a second baby was born at a local hospital after its mother was airlifted out of the festival. According to popular tradition, countless children were conceived at the festival. Additionally, Joan Baez took the stage while being six months pregnant with her son Gabe.

Woodstock Day 1 Performers

Woodstock Day 2 Performers

Woodstock Day 3 Performers

More Woodstock Resources

The Bindy Bazaar Trails

The Bindy Bazaar Trails lets guests explore the area and see historic evidence of how the woods were used during the Woodstock Festival. 

Bindy Bazaar Trails signs on trees in woods

Alumni Registry

Did you or a relative attend the Woodstock music festival? Join our Alumni Registry!

historic Woodstock music festival

Help Preserve Bethel Woods

Learn more about our preservation efforts, made possible by grants and donations.

Woodstock attendees sitting on lawn