6. Woodstock

The Age of Hippies

It was the age of peace, love and happiness. It was the age of brightly-colored vans and hippies wearing bell-bottom pants or flowing skirts. It was the age of both folk rock and acid rock bands protesting for what they believed in. It was the age of a three day music festival called "Woodstock" that drew a crowd of thousands and changed the history of rock and roll music. It was the 1960's.

What comes to mind when you think of hippies?

Painted Van


Hippies in the woods

Peace Symbol


In the mid to late 1960's a counter-culture movement was sweeping throughout American teenagers and young adults. Many of their parents had lived through World War II, and as a result, used strict military-like rules in their households. Several major political events were happening, such as the war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement. The youth of America felt that it was their job to go against what their parents believed in and speak with a new voice for America.

The Woodstock Music Festival

The Woodstock Music Festival was held on a weekend in August in 1969. Meant to be a simple peaceful celebration of music, the festival became much larger than anyone could have imagined. Watch the video and as you're watching, try to find the answer to these questions:

  • What kind of farm was Woodstock held on?
  • Where did they set the stage?
  • Why couldn't some of the bands perform?
  • What happened when too many people arrived?
  • How did rain impact the festival?
The History of the Woodstock Festival.mp4

Traffic & too many people

Because the location for the festival was a small town in upstate New York, all the roads leading to it were not meant for huge amounts of traffic. The roads quickly became clogged with cars. People would park their cars miles down the road and walk all the way to the festival to attend.

Although Woodstock was planned to be a ticketed event, when hundreds of thousands kept trying to get in, they cut down the fence and made it free to enter.

The Music of Woodstock

There were two kinds of music popular among the youth of the late 1960's: folk music and psychedelic rock.

Folk Music: Featured voices and acoustic guitars. The lyrics to folk songs were usually political. Notable folk artists: Joan Baez, Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan.

Psychedelic Rock: Featured electric guitars and long solos. The music was meant to "expand your mind", and was often accompanied by psychedelic drugs. The lyrics to psychedelic rock were not important, and sometimes even nonsense.

Woodstock Bands

The End of Woodstock

Jimi Hendrix was the last musician to perform at Woodstock. To close the festival, Hendrix performed The National Anthem on the electric guitar. His performance became quite controversial; many people thought it was disrespectful because of the way it was played.

Watch it for yourself. Image it's the year 1969. Would you think this performance is disrespectful?

Jimi Hendrix- Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock.mp4

Woodstock Poster Assignment

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