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Pictures | Thu Aug 15, 2019 | 10:35pm BST

50 years after Woodstock

Three chaotic days of peace, music, mud and free love helped immortalize the 1969 Woodstock festival as the touchstone of 1960s counterculture. The festival was attended by more than 450,000 people on a farm in Bethel, New York. 

John "Jack" Niflot (Gift of Duke Devlin)/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Three chaotic days of peace, music, mud and free love helped immortalize the 1969 Woodstock festival as the touchstone of 1960s counterculture. The festival was attended by more than 450,000 people on a farm in Bethel, New York. John "Jack" Niflot...more

Three chaotic days of peace, music, mud and free love helped immortalize the 1969 Woodstock festival as the touchstone of 1960s counterculture. The festival was attended by more than 450,000 people on a farm in Bethel, New York. John "Jack" Niflot (Gift of Duke Devlin)/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Michael Lang, one of the producers of the 1969 festival, recalled the lofty hopes of the event, which faced a late change of venue and huge logistical issues when some 450,000 people turned up. "It was really about trying to see if, when (my generation) were in charge, things could work the way we hoped they would. And it did. Everybody really came together in a community of celebrating peace and music."

Paul Gerry (Gift of Pat Gerry)/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Michael Lang, one of the producers of the 1969 festival, recalled the lofty hopes of the event, which faced a late change of venue and huge logistical issues when some 450,000 people turned up. "It was really about trying to see if, when (my...more

Michael Lang, one of the producers of the 1969 festival, recalled the lofty hopes of the event, which faced a late change of venue and huge logistical issues when some 450,000 people turned up. "It was really about trying to see if, when (my generation) were in charge, things could work the way we hoped they would. And it did. Everybody really came together in a community of celebrating peace and music." Paul Gerry (Gift of Pat Gerry)/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Producer Michael Lang recalls: "We were kind of losing that dream for a better way to be on the planet. So for me, it was kind of a last-ditch effort to see that if we took the tribes out of the daily grind and the cities and came out to nature, with us in charge, we could actually make it work amongst ourselves."

Ted Berard/The Museum at Bethel Woods via REUTERS

Producer Michael Lang recalls: "We were kind of losing that dream for a better way to be on the planet. So for me, it was kind of a last-ditch effort to see that if we took the tribes out of the daily grind and the cities and came out to nature, with...more

Producer Michael Lang recalls: "We were kind of losing that dream for a better way to be on the planet. So for me, it was kind of a last-ditch effort to see that if we took the tribes out of the daily grind and the cities and came out to nature, with us in charge, we could actually make it work amongst ourselves." Ted Berard/The Museum at Bethel Woods via REUTERS
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Woodstock's 450,000 attendees waded in mud after a thunderstorm, skinny dipped in a pond and dealt with shortages of food and toilets. The festival incurred debts of about $1.4 million.

Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Woodstock's 450,000 attendees waded in mud after a thunderstorm, skinny dipped in a pond and dealt with shortages of food and toilets. The festival incurred debts of about $1.4 million. Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Woodstock's 450,000 attendees waded in mud after a thunderstorm, skinny dipped in a pond and dealt with shortages of food and toilets. The festival incurred debts of about $1.4 million. Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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John Sebastian performs at Woodstock. Baron Wolman/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

John Sebastian performs at Woodstock. Baron Wolman/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

John Sebastian performs at Woodstock. Baron Wolman/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Woodstock marked only the second live public performance by folk rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash, who opened their set with their acoustic, close harmony hit single "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." Graham Nash remembers flying into Woodstock by helicopter after dark. "Thousands and thousands of people. Rain. Mud. Candles. People. Murmuring. Sound. It was unbelievable," he said. "The size of something like Woodstock - things get very hazy. They get very hazy if you're straight. They get incredibly hazy if you were high. And that's what we were so I have very few memories of interaction backstage."

James Shelley/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Woodstock marked only the second live public performance by folk rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash, who opened their set with their acoustic, close harmony hit single "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." Graham Nash remembers flying into Woodstock by helicopter...more

Woodstock marked only the second live public performance by folk rock band Crosby, Stills and Nash, who opened their set with their acoustic, close harmony hit single "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." Graham Nash remembers flying into Woodstock by helicopter after dark. "Thousands and thousands of people. Rain. Mud. Candles. People. Murmuring. Sound. It was unbelievable," he said. "The size of something like Woodstock - things get very hazy. They get very hazy if you're straight. They get incredibly hazy if you were high. And that's what we were so I have very few memories of interaction backstage." James Shelley/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Graham Nash recalls while waiting to perform, the band was less concerned about the vast audience than the reaction of their peers and "all of the people we loved standing on the side of the stage wondering whether this new band, Crosby, Stills and Nash, could do what their record was. How are they gonna do this live, you know?"

Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Graham Nash recalls while waiting to perform, the band was less concerned about the vast audience than the reaction of their peers and "all of the people we loved standing on the side of the stage wondering whether this new band, Crosby, Stills and...more

Graham Nash recalls while waiting to perform, the band was less concerned about the vast audience than the reaction of their peers and "all of the people we loved standing on the side of the stage wondering whether this new band, Crosby, Stills and Nash, could do what their record was. How are they gonna do this live, you know?" Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees watch Jimi Hendrix. Ian R. Slater /The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch Jimi Hendrix. Ian R. Slater /The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch Jimi Hendrix. Ian R. Slater /The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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William Ellsworth (not pictured) was a 20-year-old volunteer mounted police officer on his first big detail. "Nobody gave us a hard time, really. Nobody was antagonistic or anything like that. It wasn't a hostile crowd by any means. They were there for the music, and whatever else was there," Ellsworth said. Woodstock was notable for widespread drug use by performers and fans, although only about 100 arrests were made and there were no reported incidents of violence. "I think common sense prevailed, basically. There wasn't much you could do. I saw some people smoking weed, marijuana and stuff. But... there was nobody to turn them over to, anyway. So, it would have just been a piece of paper and 'see ya'," said Ellsworth.

Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

William Ellsworth (not pictured) was a 20-year-old volunteer mounted police officer on his first big detail. "Nobody gave us a hard time, really. Nobody was antagonistic or anything like that. It wasn't a hostile crowd by any means. They were there...more

William Ellsworth (not pictured) was a 20-year-old volunteer mounted police officer on his first big detail. "Nobody gave us a hard time, really. Nobody was antagonistic or anything like that. It wasn't a hostile crowd by any means. They were there for the music, and whatever else was there," Ellsworth said. Woodstock was notable for widespread drug use by performers and fans, although only about 100 arrests were made and there were no reported incidents of violence. "I think common sense prevailed, basically. There wasn't much you could do. I saw some people smoking weed, marijuana and stuff. But... there was nobody to turn them over to, anyway. So, it would have just been a piece of paper and 'see ya'," said Ellsworth. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Jason Stone was 17 and had a summer job as a camp counselor in upstate New York when he and a friend decided to take off, without permission, and hitch a ride to the festival. "We didn't have a tent, we didn't have any equipment, we didn't have anything but the clothes on our back. A few dollars in our pocket," he recalled. They ran into someone they know, and shared a small tent, where they were offered some watermelon. "Little did I know that this watermelon was injected at some time before we got there with LSD, and that we were about to experience something pretty intense," Stone said.

Art Aigner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Jason Stone was 17 and had a summer job as a camp counselor in upstate New York when he and a friend decided to take off, without permission, and hitch a ride to the festival. "We didn't have a tent, we didn't have any equipment, we didn't have...more

Jason Stone was 17 and had a summer job as a camp counselor in upstate New York when he and a friend decided to take off, without permission, and hitch a ride to the festival. "We didn't have a tent, we didn't have any equipment, we didn't have anything but the clothes on our back. A few dollars in our pocket," he recalled. They ran into someone they know, and shared a small tent, where they were offered some watermelon. "Little did I know that this watermelon was injected at some time before we got there with LSD, and that we were about to experience something pretty intense," Stone said. Art Aigner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Jocko Marcellino (not pictured) was a singer, drummer and songwriter for the fledgling band Sha Na Na when Jimi Hendrix helped get them onto the Woodstock bill. As the hours passed, Sha Na Na kept getting bumped before Hendrix insisted they take the stage as the penultimate act. "Looking out at the crowd, by then it would look like a refugee camp... and we were exhausted because we were out there all weekend and we finally got on. "Woodstock was all about all of these people cooperating and getting through that weekend together... It was a universe of its own and it will never be repeated again," Marcellino said. "We got paid $350. The check bounced."

James Sarles/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Jocko Marcellino (not pictured) was a singer, drummer and songwriter for the fledgling band Sha Na Na when Jimi Hendrix helped get them onto the Woodstock bill. As the hours passed, Sha Na Na kept getting bumped before Hendrix insisted they take the...more

Jocko Marcellino (not pictured) was a singer, drummer and songwriter for the fledgling band Sha Na Na when Jimi Hendrix helped get them onto the Woodstock bill. As the hours passed, Sha Na Na kept getting bumped before Hendrix insisted they take the stage as the penultimate act. "Looking out at the crowd, by then it would look like a refugee camp... and we were exhausted because we were out there all weekend and we finally got on. "Woodstock was all about all of these people cooperating and getting through that weekend together... It was a universe of its own and it will never be repeated again," Marcellino said. "We got paid $350. The check bounced." James Sarles/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Robin Naylor turned 15 a week before Woodstock and went with two of her sisters, without telling their strict father. She remembers marveling at how Janice Joplin could sing, drink and smoke a cigarette at the same time. "I am thinking how much more smoke was coming out as she's singing "Piece of My Heart Baby" and her face was completely gray. She was amazing, but I was looking (and) I was thinking her face is gray," she said. 

Ian R. Slater/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Robin Naylor turned 15 a week before Woodstock and went with two of her sisters, without telling their strict father. She remembers marveling at how Janice Joplin could sing, drink and smoke a cigarette at the same time. "I am thinking how much more...more

Robin Naylor turned 15 a week before Woodstock and went with two of her sisters, without telling their strict father. She remembers marveling at how Janice Joplin could sing, drink and smoke a cigarette at the same time. "I am thinking how much more smoke was coming out as she's singing "Piece of My Heart Baby" and her face was completely gray. She was amazing, but I was looking (and) I was thinking her face is gray," she said. Ian R. Slater/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Elsewhere, Robin Naylor's sister slipped in the mud and down into a makeshift privy, ruining her prized moccasin boots. "She had fallen into a hole where people had been using it because there were no... right? So it is all over her... She was so proud of her moccasin boots. She was crying," Naylor said. "You forgot that you were cold, hungry and wet... My sister Patty said, 'Don't eat anything, don't drink anything' because there were a lot of things going around and we were young kids. "People were swimming naked. Oh my god! I saw my first naked man at Woodstock. Oh wow! Yeah. I was horrified." 

John "Jack" Niflot (Gift of Duke Devlin)/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Elsewhere, Robin Naylor's sister slipped in the mud and down into a makeshift privy, ruining her prized moccasin boots. "She had fallen into a hole where people had been using it because there were no... right? So it is all over her... She was so...more

Elsewhere, Robin Naylor's sister slipped in the mud and down into a makeshift privy, ruining her prized moccasin boots. "She had fallen into a hole where people had been using it because there were no... right? So it is all over her... She was so proud of her moccasin boots. She was crying," Naylor said. "You forgot that you were cold, hungry and wet... My sister Patty said, 'Don't eat anything, don't drink anything' because there were a lot of things going around and we were young kids. "People were swimming naked. Oh my god! I saw my first naked man at Woodstock. Oh wow! Yeah. I was horrified." John "Jack" Niflot (Gift of Duke Devlin)/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees walk the grounds. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees walk the grounds. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees walk the grounds. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees in the mud. Irene Berner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees in the mud. Irene Berner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees in the mud. Irene Berner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees watch the stage at Woodstock.

Ian R. Slater/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch the stage at Woodstock. Ian R. Slater/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch the stage at Woodstock. Ian R. Slater/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees walk through the crowd. Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees walk through the crowd. Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees walk through the crowd. Richard Gordon/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees watch performing artists. Art Aigner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch performing artists. Art Aigner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch performing artists. Art Aigner/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Cars and tents in the fields. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Cars and tents in the fields. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Cars and tents in the fields. Barry Serben/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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Attendees watch performing artists. Ilene Levine/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch performing artists. Ilene Levine/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

Attendees watch performing artists. Ilene Levine/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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An aerial view of the festival grounds. Paul Gerry/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

An aerial view of the festival grounds. Paul Gerry/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS

An aerial view of the festival grounds. Paul Gerry/The Museum at Bethel Woods/Via REUTERS
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