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On This Day, August 15, 1969: The Woodstock Festival kicks off in upstate New York

On This Day, August 15, 1969…


The Woodstock Music & Arts festival kicked off on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, New York.

Billed as “three days of peace and music,” more than 400,000 music fans crowded the farm to see performances by such artists as Richie HavensSantanaGrateful DeadCreedence Clearwater RevivalJanis JoplinThe WhoCrosby, Stills, Nash & YoungJimi Hendrix and more.

So many people turned up for the three-day festival that it caused massive traffic jams on the New York State Thruway, with some folks abandoning their cars to walk to the festival.

A documentary about the festival was released in 1970, and two soundtrack albums were also released, with other albums coming out to coincide with anniversaries of the fest.

The original site of the festival is now part of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, with a theater constructed about 500 yards from where the festival took place.

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