The Woodstock Music and Art Fair was an event held at Max Yasgur's 600 acre (2.4 kmē) dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York from August 15 to August 18, 1969.
For many, it exemplified the counterculture of the 1960s and the "hippie era." Many of the best-known musicians of the time appeared during the rainy weekend, captured in a successful 1970 movie, Woodstock.
Joni Mitchell's song "Woodstock," which memorialized the event, became a major hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Though attempts have been made over the years to recreate the festival, the original Woodstock festival of 1969 has proven to be unique and legendary.
Woodstock has been idealized in the American popular culture as the culmination of the hippie movement a free festival where nearly 500,000 "flower children" came together to celebrate. Hippie activist Abbie Hoffman crystallized this view of the event in his book, Woodstock Nation, written shortly afterwards.
Although the festival was remarkably peaceful given the number of people and conditions involved, the reality was less than perfect. Woodstock did have some crime and other misbehavior, as well as a fatality from a drug overdose, an accidental death caused by an occupied sleeping bag being run over by a tractor and one participant died from falling off a scaffold. There were also three miscarriages and two births recorded at the event and colossal logistical headaches. Furthermore, because Woodstock was not intended for such a large crowd, there were not enough resources such as portable toilets and first-aid tents.
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Woodstock began as a profit-making venture; it only became a free festival after it became obvious that the concert was drawing hundreds of thousands more people than the organizers had prepared for, and that the fence had been torn down by eager, unticketed arrivals. Tickets for the event (sold in 1969) cost US$18 to buy a ticket in advance and $24 to buy a ticket at the gate for all three days. Ticket sales were limited to record stores in the greater New York City area, or by mail via a Post Office Box at the Radio City Station Post Office located in Midtown Manhattan.
Yet, in tune with the idealistic hopes of the 1960s, Woodstock satisfied most attendees.
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