On August 14-16, 1969—40 years ago this month—500,000 young Americans were gathered on 600 acres of cow paddocks near New York city, for what would become an iconic event in cultural history.
Woodstock, the event billed by promoters as ‘An Aquarian Exposition’, promised ‘3 days of peace and music’.
In a time of war, it was a counter-cultural statement by a dissatisfied young generation. According to legend, goodwill reigned as food was shared among festival-goers, babies were born, and not a punch was thrown.
But beneath the folklore, there was also a darker side, with some artists so intoxicated they could hardly perform, and drug-taking festival-goers suffering the effects of ‘bad-acid’.
Steve Turner is a writer, poet, and rock historian from the UK, who was a teenager at the time of the Woodstock festival. He joined Sheridan Voysey at Open House to talk about this historical cultural event.