In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair drew more than
450,000 people to a pasture in Sullivan county. For four days,
this site became a “countercultural mini-nation” in which drugs
were all but legal, music was plenty, and love was free. The
music began Friday afternoon at 5:07 p.m. August 15, and
continued until mid-morning Monday August 18. The festival
closed the New York State Thruway and created one of the nation’s
worst traffic jams. It also inspired a bunch of local and state
laws to ensure that nothing like it would ever happen again.
Woodstock was the idea of four young men: John Roberts, Joel
Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. The oldest of the four
was 26. Their original odea was to have it in Wallkill, New York,
but the residents objected so greatly, that the site was then
taken to a farm about eight miles outside of Bethel, N.Y. ,
population 3,900. There was objections from this city as well,
but a permit had already been purchased to have a concert, so not
much could be done about it.
Although the conditions were terrible, (Lack of food, sparse
sanitation facilities, drugs and alcohol, mud, to name a few)
there were no violent acts at the festival.
Drugs were a problem at the festival, nearly ninety percent
of the people there were smoking marijuana. There were no
violence problems though. Approximately one hundred percent of
the 33 people arrested were charged with drug-related charges.
Food shortage was a problem since so many people showed up
who the festival organizers wree not prepared for.Only 60,000
people were expected to attend, yet on the first day alone,
500,000 frankfurters and hamburgers were consumed. Constant
airlifts were being operated from the site and outlying areas,
bringing in a total of 1,300 pounds of canned food, sandwiches,
and fruit. In fact, the food problems were so great that the
Women’s Group of the Jewish Community Center of Monticello and
the Sisters of the Convent of St. Thomas prepared and distributed
30,000 sandwiches for the festival go-ers.