WOODSTOCK, New York - It was billed as 'Three Days of Peace and Music' in New York State. It was The Woodstock Music Festival.
The unprecedented musical event presently celebrating its 40th anniversary was held on Max Yasgur's dairy farm in mid-August of 1969.
The three day event drew 500,000 young Americans, some of whom referred to themselves as hippies, yippies, flower children, peaceniks, free spirits, freaks, Jehovah's Witnesses, voters, music addicts, vegetarians, Democrats, and six Republicans.
The concession stand sold items ranging from hot dogs and hamburgers to pot brownies and LSD pop tarts. One reporter estimated that he heard the words dude, groovy, pizza, Aquarius, beads, peace, piece, and bitch uttered a combined total of 4 billion times.
DAY ONE: FRIDAY, AUGUST 15, 1969
A total of 32 musical acts performed including Richie Havens who was the opening act. He said that he had gone there to hopefully make a few bucks to buy himself some new sandals. He performed eight songs including "Freedom," "More Freedom," and "Free Willy."
Soon after Ravi Shankar, the sitar player from India took the stage and played and sang five songs which no one understood except for Varanasi Farrukabad and Mumdeli Dakpur who were both Bombay exchange students.
And then the clouds came and it started to rain.
Joan Baez, who was six-months pregnant performed her set for two; her and the baby that she would later name Benjamin Franklin Stove Woodstock Baez.
DAY TWO: SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 1969
One of the songs that John Sebastian sang was a song he had just written on the helicopter to the sight named "Welcome Back I Caught Her." He would later change the title to "Welcome Back Kotter" and make about $72,000 plus get to meet Gabe Kaplan the star of the sit-com Welcome Back Kotter.
Carlos Santana rocked the farm with his song hits "Evil Ways," "Soul Sacrifice," and "Run Mofo's, It's The Border Patrol." The later song was banned in Mexico, Spain, Scotland, Beverly Hills, and most of Vermont
And the rain continued falling.
The blues-rock-boogie Los Angeles band Canned Heat played three songs that they had written especially for the Woodstock concert; "Woodstock Boogie," "Woodstock Stockboy," and "Woodstock The Yellow Bird From The Peanuts Cartoon."
The Long Island New York band Mountain performed the song "Theme From An Imaginary Western Shoot 'Em Up Oater." It would later become Mick Jagger, President Richard Nixon, Roy Rogers, and Minnie Pearl's favorite song.
Mountain would break up shortly afterwards only to reform two years later using the name Mole Hill.
The Grateful Dead took the stage but after two songs they were soon booed off because, as one of the concert promoters Haruki Toshimatsu said, they were just not grateful. They did come back eight minutes later and told the crowd that they were in fact grateful.
And the rain fell and fell and fell.
And by now there was mud everywhere. It was on people's arms and legs, in their hair, on their faces, and in their underwear; those that were wearing underwear.
Creedence Clearwater Revival performed at around 3 a.m. John Fogerty said that he was so pissed off that instead of doing his scheduled 11 songs he ended up only doing 10. He would later say that the rumor about someone calling the police because of the loud music at 3 in the morning was unfounded.
Janis Joplin then took the stage and said that she had gone to use one of the O'Boys (portable toilets) but that the lines for each of the 800 O'Boys were 90 people deep. So she said that she just peed in her pants and went around telling everyone that Neil Young had spilled an Orange Crush soda on her lap.
Sly And The Family Stone then appeared and sang their theme song "I Wanna Take You Higher" which they managed to do since prior to their performance their roadies had passed out about 60 pounds of Durango Bango, Boston Boom-Boom, and Baja California Kick-Ass, along with three Igloo Ice Chests filled with Mexicali Mescal.
The mud was now about a foot deep. One girl in the front was crying because she said that she had gotten some mud on her tampon. Her boyfriend laughed and told her that he would still love her no matter if she had mud in her puckerino. She leaned over grabbed a handful of mud and stuck it in his boxer shorts kinda close to his puckerino.
The Who then came on at 4 in the morning and played a 25-song set. The set was briefly interrupted when 'Chicago Seven 'activist Abbie Hoffman jumped up on stage to make a politically charged statement. That did not sit too well with Pete Townsend who quickly snuck up behind Hoffman and hit him on his back with his guitar.
Hoffman fell and he then grabbed John Entwistle's bass guitar and hit Townsend, who then grabbed Keith Moon's snare drum and hit Hoffman, who then grabbed Roger Daltrey's microphone, but before he could do anything, Neil Young ran over and took it away from him and shoved it halfway up Hoffman's right nostril causing him to scream in pain and run away from the stage toward the hot dog concession stand looking for some Absorbine Junior and some band-aids.
And now it seemed as though mud was falling from the sky.
Someone shouted that the mud tasted like Honduran Heroin and several hippies opened up their mouths and started choking and throwing up on the people beside them who didn't notice since they were busy smoking some Durango Bango that Abbie Hoffman had given them in exchange for some Neosporin, a Flintstone Vitamin, a small tube of Ben Gay, and an ice cube.
The San Francisco based band Jefferson Airplane featuring Grace Slick then took the stage, but two security guards made them put it back real quick. They then kicked off a 13-song set which included their classic hits "White Rabbit," "Eskimo Blue Day," "Uncle Sam's Blues," and "Aunt Susie Belle's Pink Vagina."
DAY THREE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 1969
On the third day Sheffield, England's own pride and joy Joe Cocker took center stage where he performed his big hit "With A Little Help From My Friends." Joe not known for having a very clearly understandable voice was later asked by Neil Young to translate his songs because none of the 500,000 fans had understood a motherfriggin' word he had said.
And another thunderstorm hit.
This storm brought tons and tons of rain which instantly turned to mud as soon as it hit the ground. By now it was getting very hard for couples to recognize each other. Jimi Hendrix said that it looked like a scene from the old Amos and Andy Show.
Neil Young laughed as he chugged a Styrofoam cup of Budweiser and remarked that all they needed now was Tarzan, Jane, and Chittlins. Joe Cocker corrected him by saying that the chimps name was Chita. Young looked at him and replied, "Dats what I shed mudderfracker, Chittlins."
Country Joe and The Fish played next, but because of the rain and the drugs they were so out of it that when they performed their famous give me an F-U-*-K song Joe misspelled it and it came out give me an F-K-C-U. Not surprisingly none of the concert goers caught the misspelling. Most of the crowd had spelled the F word with S's, W's, P's, and Q's.
Half way during Country Joe and The Fishs' set someone accidentally unplugged them and they went totally silent but they kept on singing and playing.
Sadly about 27 people in the front row started screaming and hollering that they had gone deaf and that they were blaming it on bad Mexican Mescal.
Soon The Band, Bob Dylan's old backup band took center stage. Levon Helm captivated the audience due to the fact that he played the entire 11-song set while standing on his head. He would later say that he did not remember, but he wondered why he had found some pee in his ears.
Blood, Sweat, And Tears followed and David Clayton Thomas, the group's lead singer said that they were changing their name to Blood, Sweat, Tears, And Mud-Up-The-Ass. Everyone in the first three rows laughed, the other 499,782 people could not hear him or see him for all of the motherfoing mud.
And then it was Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young's turn. Stills told the crowd that they were scared sh*tless. David Crosby was so nervous he had chewed off half of his walrus mustache. Graham Nash was shaking so much his English accent went away. And Neil Young thought that he was at Disneyland.
The rain got heavier and it was now raining cats and dogs.
Stage hands went around desperately trying to gather up the dozens and dozens of collies, rottweilers, Persians, dalmatians, poodles, Siamese, and Chihuahuas.
And as the mud continued to ooze between the sandaled feet of the half a million strong. Jimi Hendrix appeared. As he looked out at the crowd he said that he had never ever seen so many white folks in one place that wasn't a KKK rally. He wondered where the 18 brothers and sistas were. Neil Young hollered out that they were washing the cars out in the parking lot.
Jimi was dressed all in purple and he asked the crowd to quite down because he was going to announce the winner of the door prize. He said that the winner need not be present to win.
He picked out a name and it was Neil Young. But Neil said that he wasn't there and so they picked another name. The second name picked was Rainbowface Matsusaka, an exchange student from Tokyo. She was sitting in the next to the last row and it took her two hours to get to the stage.
Hendrix presented her with a six-pack of Schlitz Beer, a 12-inch pepperoni pizza, a four days and two nights stay at The Sonoran Sinsemilla Motel in Niagara Falls, New York, a bra belonging to Grace Slick that was autographed by Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker on the left cup and Ravi Shankar and Grace Slick on the right cup, a guitar pick that had Neil Young's teethmarks all over it, plus $35,000 in cash.
And finally the three day musical event came to an end. The wires were unplugged. The amps were packed. The guitars, and the drums, and the tambourines were all carefully put away.
The stage was taken down and Janis Joplin finally got to pee in a portable toilet instead of on herself.
Woodstock would forever live in the hearts and minds of those who were actually there in person. And that figure, today, amazingly numbers right at 19 million people.
So on that last day of Woodstock, as everyone tried painstakingly to remember where the hell they had parked their vehicles, the sky finally began to clear.
The New York sun shyly peeked out as if playing a game of hide and seek.
The abundant wildlife gradually and cautiously started to return and the mud...aw yes, the mud slowly began to dry and turn into mud clods.
And over in a quiet corner, beside two curiously curious adult dairy cows, Neil Young was gingerly stumbling around looking for Minnie Mouse.
"Piece"...and to all a goodnight.
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