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Woodstock Music Festival Research Paper

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Woodstock Music Festival was a three day event that took place in 1969. It involved a “throng of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll–plus a lot of mud.” Woodstock has turned out to be a 1960’s hippie counter-culture symbol during one of the most unstable years in contemporary history.

In this paper, theories regarding the causes of this colossal concert will be discussed and argued, in effect convincing readers to look at the music festival in new point of view and discover the symbolic significance that stirred novelty to a crippling nation.


In 1969 America summer, numerous huge concerts took place, however none of them were as symbolic and celebrated as Woodstock Music Festival. Woodstock impact on the society and culture of Americans will be remembered in many decades to come. John Roberts, Artie Kornfield, Michael Lang, Joel Rosenman were men who initially established the event.

Their initial plan concerning the concert was to back up the plan of opening a recording music studio in Bethel, NY; this is where the concert in fact took place. Intended to become the biggest event that assembled many people in one specific place and time, Woodstock Music Festival represented “three days of love, peace and music” in the middle of Vietnam War terrors (Evans, 48).

Woodstock was the most eminent music concert and it took place when Americans were greatly divided; more than four hundred thousand people from all over the country assembled to commemorate “Three Days of Peace and Music.” Those 3 days of celebrated performances, indescribable mud and memorable experiences enabled Woodstock Art and Music turn into be a symbol of all generation.

The historic event became large for Americans’ generation as an icon of camaraderie and love of music during a time of disaster, war and generational clefts. Woodstock music festival was a shrilly pacifist show, but its meaning was thinned by the media. Instead of focusing on the political avowals made, typical cultural critics talked-about long hair, nakedness and hippies (Perone, 87).

The event, as it were, had lost its grip in the midst of a normalizing and co-optive media tradition that overlooked existent politics and replaced sensationalism and symbolism. The concert was officially known as “The Woodstock Music and Art Fair,” it went through various hypothetical incarnations, recorded in an article in the year 1994 by Elliot Tiber.

Many articles wrote lots of different things regarding the concert and large numbers of people from different parts of the country walked for miles to reach the location (Evans, 108). Even though the Woodstock Music Festival was intended to be a ticketed event, ultimately, the planners stopped collecting the tickets because the crowd started to cut away and to trample the fences which made even more people to come to the concert.

The event schedule featured the most celebrated and legendary rock and folk music groups of the 60s. In the first night, the concert was headlined by Ritchie Havens and came to an end many hours later with Joan Baez giving a blazing close-down. Artists began their performances every day at around midday and they made sure they engaged the crowd.

There were fundamental causes for this event and so they had to give their all. The Americans were very segregated at the time and the frights of the Vietnam War were still very fresh in their minds. So much was going on and there was too much pressure surrounding the people. The event was all about love, peace and above all music (Makower, 97).

Woodstock Music Festival was inspiring and remarkable for people who attended because it had performing artists who played for the largest audience of their vocation.

Woodstock Music Festival featured unforgettable “acts of the Rock & Roll” epoch i.e. “Joan Baez, Richie Havens, John Sebastian, The Who, Santana, Mountain, Canned Heat, Arlo Guthrie, CCR, Joe Cocker, Grandpa Simpson’s favorite band that day––Sha Na Na, The Band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, CSNY, and Country Joe and the Fish and Jimi Hendrix, who sang his terrific edition of the Star-Spangled Banner.”

The event was about “three days of peace and love,” contrasting the Vietnam War and abhorrence.

The Vietnam War was a lengthened conflict existing between nationalist forces who tried to unite Vietnam nation under a communalist government and the US (with South Vietnamese help) trying to put a stop to the spread of communalism.

Engaged in a battle that many saw as having no means to win, United State heads lost their citizens support for the warfare (Evans, 56). Ever since the end of this warfare, the Vietnam War has turned into a point of reference for what not to do in the future when it comes to U.S. foreign battles.

This war left Americans in division and with so much hatred; the festival intended to bring peace and love in the land. The festival was caused by the urge to unite American people and to alleviate the pressure that the people were going through.

Organizers of the event said that people who were buying tickets for the Festival were contributing to a unified front against the hatred, the division and the Vietnam War. Artists played great music and made antiviolence speeches; Country Joe for instance exhorted the audience that “if you want to stop this fucking war, you’ll have to sing louder than that.”

Leaders of the movement and other advocates took their turns too and several men smashed their draft cards protesting against the Vietnam War (Makower, 73). Nonetheless, Media’s image and reminiscence of this festival focused on the commemorating side of it: the loud music, the rain and mud, the nakedness, drugs and “free” love.

There were numerous turbulent incidents closely enveloping Woodstock Music Festival. For example the Vietnam War had just got into its 5th year. It would have entered its 6th year if Saigon to the Vietcong did not admit defeat on 30th April, 1975. In the previous year, Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination was very fresh in the minds of many people in the country.

A fugitive convict, confessed to the felony however he later claimed to have been set-up. His confession was however sustained 8 times and in 1998, he passed on in prison. There was also another recent assassination involving Sen.

Robert F. Kennedy: this occurred in LA at the Ambassador Hotel which happened just 2 months after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. A Palestinian migrant known as Sirhan Sirhan assassinated Kennedy, after he had addressed his cohorts, and passed away the following day: Sirhan was arrested and put in jail.

During the festival Lang said that Americans were trying hard to get-out of that Vietnam War. He stated that “The whole decade had been filled with efforts to improving the human condition with human rights struggles, civil rights and women’s rights.

We were just first realizing that we were trashing the planet we lived on and the ecology movement was just beginning and a lot of groups at the time were turning a bit violent in trying to get their message out, (out of) frustration.”

He continued to say that Woodstock served as a diplomatic and a serene way to fight the negative and depressing attitude brought about by those events. The country had gone through so much and even if the artists’ initial plan was to establish a recording music studio, the cause of the Festival was to bring Music, Love and most of all Peace (Perone, 29).

Actually, by the first day of the Festival, as the performers looked-out-upon the huge multitude, they must have seen that Woodstock Music Festival was not going to be just like any other concert that would be overlooked and forgotten.

Looking from the outside Woodstock Festival might have been seen like just a concert for the young generation that involved hearing and dancing to their favorite musical tunes, but it proved to be much greater than that. Even though music was a significant part of the event, it could not have celebrated for such a long time if that were the extent of its worth.

This means that the Festival was much more than just music and dancing. Woodstock brought out an important message to the people by helping them realize that they could come as one during depressing moments and discover a unified aspiration which was “Love and Peace”(Makower, 35).

Even though there was law enforcement during the festival because it was feared that there would rioting, the police disregarded drug laws. The audience stayed diplomatic and calm all through the period of the festival in spite of the intense use of LSD and Marijuana.

During the Festival, no conflict was reported even though there was death because a tractor ran over a man. The entire Festival was a moment of peace and cheerfulness. Lots of people attending the event were given a gleam of hopefulness and optimism in a world that disregarded them. Despite the mud engraved in their bodies and the drugs, the long for love, peace and acceptance was in the air.

The atmosphere and the frame of mind created by this is what made the Festival terrific and unforgettable. If it wasn’t for this pervasive feeling, the crowd could have dismissed the event like just any other excuse to get together, listen to music, dance and get high on drugs. There were little things that created great difference like the fact that there was no reported damage of properties during the entire festival.

Also, even if there was lots of trash left at the concert site, the venture to clean-up the six hundred acre was completed in 5 days; crew members and attendees also helped with the cleaning (Littleproud, 46). For the majority of people, the impact of the festival was evident in their lives.

Both men and women acquired self-confidence to go out there and make a big difference regardless of what some people may have thought of them. These people made great impact on the US society when just living their ordinary lives. They were educational pioneers with their varying feelings regarding the meaning of music, art and the society’s structure.

Woodstock Music Festival’s impact that was left on the country could have been just as enormous on the people who watched it as the ones who were in reality present (Bennett, 67). People who went to the festival showed almost everybody around them that they can get together and make a big difference if only they wanted to.

This event came at a time when most young people of America needed ideas of how to bring unity and peace in their land regardless of their differences. Due to Woodstock Music Festival, both men and women were inspired to go out there and make their own music.

Also, there were new musicians who made their debut at the concert; for example Carlos Santana. Much of the music played during the festival was cordial and it happened to be a way of allowing the listeners find a foundation on which to talk about the events surrounding their world (Littleproud, 201).

The Festival feeling has lasted on people’s minds for decades and up until this day, music continues to have a much more intense and influential effect on the people listening to it. It is obvious that without music events like Woodstock, Music wouldn’t be what and where it is at present. Efforts to recreate Woodstock Music Festival couldn’t be mastered because of one major factor.

This was plainly that there was no profound ground or purpose to the reproduction. “Woodstock 94” was the second concert but it was no more than a big endorsement. In spite of Woodstock 69’s initial plan of studio promotion, it turned out to be much more than that for the reason that it took place at a time when Americans were searching for answers not simply empty ideas and talks.

With the great publicity of Woodstock 94 in the media, it lost all optimism of be what the original Festival was all about. Woodstock 99’ was overly commercialized but this was not an issue, however everything else that was visualized happened. There was great hope for the last try to have another emblematic Woodstock prior-to the closing stages of the millennium.

The optimism and expectations were shattered just as fast as the Woodstock site in Rome, NY. The festival’s audience was made up of a small number of patriot Woodstock aficionados that went to all three concerts bearing the name “Woodstock.” It appeared that the other people that constituted the rest of the attendees were practically all there to get high and tear down anything that surrounded them.

By the end of the festival, almost the entire stage and music equipments were ruined. There were also rape cases and all mementos given like posters, caps and shirts were stolen. The conducts portrayed during Woodstock 99’ festival can be referred to as “destructive vigor.”

It went past foolish brutality to a point of bringing down the splendor of the original Woodstock 69’. Sadly now when people remember Woodstock Music Festival, they can’ help but also recall the damage that took place during its most recent effort at recreation.


In spite of people’s wish to bring back the mood and sensation of the original Woodstock Music Festival, all that remains is its effect on people who took part in it and the affect it had on the society they live in. Woodstock 69’ feeling will never be lost despite what happened in the consequent Woodstock concerts.

It was caused by the desire to promote music studios but it played a greater role. At that time so much was going on in US and people were experiences great hatred and division. The Festival brought the feeling of “Love, Peace and good Music.”

Works Cited

Bennett, Andy. Remembering Woodstock. USA, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2004. Print

Evans, Mike. Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked the World, California, Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2009. Print

Littleproud, Brad. Woodstock – Peace, Music & Memories, New York, Krause Publications, 2009. Print

Makower, Joel. Woodstock: the oral history.USA, SUNY Press, 2009. Print

Perone, James. Music of the counterculture era. Chicago, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print

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