Sex, Drugs, and Rock 'n' Roll: 10 Facts You Never Knew About Woodstock

Woodstock, New York. August 17th, 1969. Conjures images of ridiculous hippies gallivanting about, doped up, cracked out, and sexed up in a giant field, no?

It's more than that, though. There's a misplaced sense of nostalgia we all have when we think of Woodstock. We think of the music we wish we'd heard, the people we wish we'd seen, and the craze and haze we wish we'd lived through. 

Sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, right? It's a place we long to be, a feeling we long to capture for ourselves. 

But we weren't there, and because there's no such thing as time travel yet, we have to find comfort in the weird facts and trivial pursuits that historic moment left in its wake. 

We're talking legendary ground here, and there hasn't been anything to truly capture the magic of that moment since. Especially not Demetri Martin's awful movie, Woodstock. Seriously, it's not funny. 

Here are 10 facts you probably didn't know about Woodstock. Not the movie. 

1. It was held on dairy farmer Max Yasgur's alfalfa field


That's right. Woodstock took place on an alfalfa field.

There wasn't a suitable site for the festival in Woodstock, so organizers tried to hold it in Wallkill, which is 40 miles away.


Residents weren't having it. They blocked the festival's plans. Then, dairy farmer Max Yasgur stepped up, and offered his alfalfa field in Bathel.

A deal was struck for $75,000.

2. There was an absurd rainstorm


The storm clouds were approaching, and the crowd was urged, "Let's think hard to get rid of the rain."

The crowd reacted by breaking into a "No rain, no rain, no rain," chant. However, that clearly didn't prevent the rain from falling, and within three hours, five inches of rain had pelted down on the concert.

Joan Baez sang "We Shall Overcome," during a completely intense thunderstorm. Alvin Lee from Ten Years After was warned he might be electrocuted if he went on. His response was classic.  

"Oh, come on. If I get electrocuted at Woodstock we'll sell a lot of records."

3. Most people missed Jimi Hendrix's Star-Spangled Banner


Jimi Hendrix's triumphant, immortal rendition of the Star-Spangled banner was described by The New York Post as "the single greatest moment of the sixties."

The bad news about that rendition? Most of Woodstock's crowd missed it. Most people had gone home by the time Hendrix came on at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. 

This was before YouTube, which makes this truth even more sad for those people!

4. It's now the home of Mysteryland USA

That's right! Mysteryland, one of the most incredible music festivals in the United States, has a sick lineup that includes the likes of Odesza, Skrillex, Bassnectar, the Chainsmokers, Zeds Dead, Young Thug, and many, many more.

It's going down from June 10th to June 13th, and we want you to be a part of all this. That’s why we joined up with Mysteryland USA, DoStuff, and GBH Events for this "No Place Like Home" contest.


If you win the Grand Prize, you'll get two premium three-day passes, a two-person easy ten package, and a mystery gift bundle. If you win second place, you'll get two Nomad three-day passes, a mystery gift bundle, and a two-person lander's river camping package.

So, enter here, and know that we really, really hope to see you rocking your face off at Mysteryland.

5. Organizers told authorities they expected 50,000 people


Then, in a badass twist, they sold 186,000 tickets in advance, and planned for 200,000 people.

After all of that, 500,000 people attended the concert, and another million people weren't able to get into the festival because of traffic.

Still more people were born during Woodstock. One pregnant woman gave birth in the car in a nine-mile traffic jam, while another was flown by helicopter to a local hospital.

John Sebastian made an announcement about a birth from the stage, "Some cat's old lady just had a baby, a kid destined to be far out!"


6. The Festival's planners, Woodstock Ventures, planned to set up ticket booths


These ticket booths planned on charging a $24-per-person admission fee to the festival.

However, after the crush of people attending the festival on the first day, attempts to collect admission were abandoned.


The fences surrounding the festival were torn down, and Woodstock was declared a free event.

7. Meanwhile, rockers charged more than usual


Jefferson Airplane demanded $12,000 in cash to play at Woodstock, which was double their usual fee.

The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin both followed, and required that they have their payment in cash before they took the Woodstock stage.

8. As for security...


Off-duty police officers were prohibited from providing security for the festival, so a New Mexico commune called the Hog Farm were hired to keep people in line.

They were lead by Wavy Gravy, a toothless former beatnik comic. Wavy Gravy donned a Smokey-the-Bear costume and threatened troublemakers with pies to the face.

9. Food was brought in for people attending the concert


Word got out that there was a shortage of food, so a nearby Jewish community center took it upon themselves to concoct meals for the concert goers.

They prepared sandwiches with 200 loaves of bread, 40 pounds of meat cuts, and two gallons of pickles.


How'd those sandwiches get out to people at the concert?

Well, in an act of religious cooperation, nuns brought them into the festival and distributed them to people in attendance.

10. Richie Havens improvised "Freedom"


Psychedelic rock band Sweetwater was scheduled to open the festival, but they were stuck in traffic.  The Hog Farmers (remember, the security force?) then took the stage and lead the crowd through a series of yoga exercises.

Backstage, organizers were panicking to find a performer that was ready. Tim Hardin was too stoned, so Richie Havens went on.

Havens performed, finished his set, and tried to leave the stage, but was continuously told to perform encores since the next band wasn't ready.

Havens then improvised "Freedom," which went on to become a worldwide hit.

Check out How About 2 VIP Tickets to Mysteryland USA in Upstate NY

[via Daily Mail] [Feature Image Courtesy Mocha Man Style] 

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