The History of Woodstock

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By: Corey Deutsch and William Zheng

 The crowd numbered half a million.

The symbols of Woodstock: Peace, Music, Drugs, and Nature.

 On August 15-18, 1969, the single most profound event in the history of music occurred. Woodstock was a gathering of over 500,000 Americans and 32 musical performances, one of the largest peaceful gatherings of history. It profoundly affected the people who attended and millions of Americans who did not attend.  It was held on Max Yasgur's six hundred acre dairy farm in the township of Bethel, New York, and it was called "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music". The pond in the center of the farm since become a popular site for skinny dipping. The event's major financers were John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, and the main promoters were Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld. They placed advertisements in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

 The Woodstock Music & Art Fair was called a free concert. It was originally a commercial venture, but it was impossible to regulate, and the fences were torn down. It attracted hundreds of thousands more people than expected and there were not enough tickets for a large majority of people who arrived. In fact, the influx of visitors congested traffic to a standstill, and helicopters had to be used for airlifting artists and musicians in. This airlift system was also responsible for carrying a pregnant woman to a hospital in order for her to give birth in a sanitary environment. However, many births, deaths, and miscarriages occurred in the festival without medical attention. Eventually, due to an extreme amount of medical cases numbering in the thousands, dozens of doctors were flown in. At the festival, there was a lack of food, water, and toilets, so everybody shared what they had and a sense of community was strengthened.

 Despite the rainy weather and overcrowded, muddy environment, spirits ran high as people bonded together. All the while, the most popular music of the time played. When people think of Woodstock, they think of the hedonistic, hippie values involved in the festival. While originally a music festival, it became a symbol of drugs, sex, a lack of morals, and music to some, and it became a symbol of peace and unity for others. Many of the participants to the festival were naked and high, and the hallucinogenic LSD, marijuana, and other psychedelic drugs were used in extreme amounts throughout the festival. It became a unique festival that stirred strong emotional responses, and the power it had has proven to be impossible to replicate. 

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