It was 45 years ago today -- August 18th, 1969 -- that the Woodstock Music and Art Fair wrapped with Jimi Hendrix's incendiary set after more than three days of music in Bethel, New York. More than 450,000 people converged upon the small upstate town to hear rock's biggest bands perform. Although Woodstock was neither the first nor last major festival concert, the fact that the youth of America were able to congregate in one place with no violence during one of the most turbulent years of the decade, gave birth to the notion of the "Woodstock Nation" and gave a voice -- and a face -- to the hippie ideal.
Artists who performed at the legendary festival included Joan Baez, Country Joe McDonald & the Fish, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Mountain, Janis Joplin, the Who, the Band, Canned Heat, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Grateful Dead, Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Santana, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Sha Na Na, John Sebastian, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Joe Cocker, and many, many more.
The first day of the festival served to ease the crowd into the music and feature folk groups. The headliner the first day was Joan Baez, who talked about her expectations during the helicopter ride to the grounds: "It was pretty clear on the helicopter ride into Woodstock this was going to be (laughs) a historic weekend. And it was. I mean, I was in the helicopter with Janis Joplin and my mother and my manager. My overwhelming sense was, 'What a treat. I get to be back at this end of the place where everybody, all the entertainers are, meet them all and get fed and treated like a queen (laughs) and hang out in the mud.' It was amazing."