Woodstock-Celebrating the 40th Anniversary

Posted: August 14, 2009 in Videos
Performing artists
Friday, August 15
Richie Havens
Swami Satchidananda – gave the invocation for the festival
The Incredible String Band
Bert Sommer
Tim Hardin
Ravi Shankar
Arlo Guthrie
Joan Baez
Saturday, August 16
Quill, forty minute set of four songs
Keef Hartley Band
Country Joe McDonald
John Sebastian
Canned Heat
Grateful Dead
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Band
Sly & the Family Stone
The Who began at 4 AM, kicking off a 25-song set including Tommy
Jefferson Airplane
Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18
The Grease Band
Joe Cocker
Country Joe and the Fish
Ten Years After
The Band
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Neil Young
Paul Butterfield Blues Band
Jimi Hendrix
Declined invitations
The Doors were considered as a potential performing band, but canceled at the last moment; the cancellation was most likely due to Jim Morrison’s known and vocal distaste for performing in large outdoor venues. Doors drummer John Densmore attended, however, and in the film, he can be seen on the side of the stage during Joe Cocker’s set.
Led Zeppelin was asked to perform, their manager Peter Grant stating: "We were asked to do Woodstock and Atlantic were very keen, and so was our US promoter, Frank Barsalona. I said no because at Woodstock we’d have just been another band on the bill". Instead the group went on with their hugely successful summer tour, playing that weekend south of the festival at the Asbury Park Convention Hall in New Jersey. Their only time out taken was to attend Elvis Presley’s show at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, on August 12.
Jethro Tull declined to perform. Ian Anderson is reported to have later said he "didn’t want to spend [his] weekend in a field of unwashed hippies". Another theory proposes that the band felt the event would be "too big a deal" and might kill their career before it started. However, other artists from the time have expressed the view that, before the festival, there was little indication of the importance the event would eventually come to assume. Although Jethro Tull did not perform, their music was played over the public address system. In the film, during the interview with the promoters (where they are discussing how much money they will be losing on the venture), the songs "Beggar’s Farm" and "Serenade to a Cuckoo", from the album "This Was," can be heard in the background. Jethro Tull did perform at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970.
The Byrds were invited, but chose not to participate, not figuring Woodstock to be any different from all the other music festivals that summer. In addition, there were concerns about money. As bassist John York remembers: "We were flying to a gig and Roger [McGuinn] came up to us and said that a guy was putting on a festival in upstate New York. But at that point they weren’t paying all of the bands. He asked us if we wanted to do it and we said, ‘No’. We had no idea what it was going to be. We were burned out and tired of the festival scene. So all of us said, ‘No, we want a rest’ and missed the best festival of all."
Tommy James and the Shondells declined an invitation. Lead singer Tommy James stated later: "We could have just kicked ourselves. We were in Hawaii, and my secretary called and said, ‘Yeah, listen, there’s this pig farmer in upstate New York that wants you to play in his field.’ That’s how it was put to me. So we passed, and we realized what we’d missed a couple of days later."
Bob Dylan was in negotiations to play, but pulled out when his son became ill. He also was unhappy about the number of hippies piling up outside his house near the originally planned site. He would go on to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival two weeks later.
Mind Garage declined because they thought it would not be a big deal and had a higher paying gig elsewhere.
The Moody Blues were included on the original Wallkill poster as performers, but decided to back out after being booked in Paris the same weekend.
Spirit also declined an invitation to play, as they already had shows planned and wanted to play those instead, not knowing how big Woodstock would be.
Joni Mitchell was originally slated to perform, but canceled at the urging of her manager to avoid missing a scheduled appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.
It’s A Beautiful Day cancelled at the last minute.
After the concert Max Yasgur, who owned the site of the event, saw it as a victory of peace and love. He spoke of how nearly half a million people filled with possibilities of disaster, riot, looting, and catastrophe spent the three days with music and peace on their minds. He states that "if we join them, we can turn those adversities that are the problems of America today into a hope for a brighter and more peaceful future.


Woodstock video footage set to Canned Heat’s "Goin Up The Country"


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