Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
My Woodstock Story
Cuzhero’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s song via Youtube
My Woodstock story is a straightforward one. High school friend Tony and I left NJ and got close to the site on Friday night, walked in on Saturday morning, and hitch-hiked back to the car on Sunday afternoon.
I had borrowed my girlfriend’s father’s 35mm camera and his binoculars. I bought one roll of Kodachrome slide film and loaded it into the camera.
As Tony and I walked toward Bethel and the site on Saturday morning I took a few pictures. On Saturday I took several more. Once during the night I took a picture. I finished the roll on Sunday before we left. A few times I experimented and put the binoculars up to the camera’s lens and improvised a telephoto lens.
Tony and I hardly moved the time we were there. We staked out our 8-foot square and only left a few times in an unsuccessful search for food and to use the porta-johns.
Here are those pictures. Click on the picture to “open” it up and see a larger size.
It was a foggy misty Sullivan County, NY morning. It is interesting today when I show these Rt 17B pictures to friends and guest at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum, what they see. Many love looking at the cars and tell me how they had that model or how their neighbor had one like it.
More parked cars. Traffic was literally at a standstill. The time was approximately 7 AM
We would ask people, “How much farther?” and their answer always was, “Just up ahead.”
We do not have one picture of ourselves that weekend other than this picture which includes the back of Tony (blue shirt carrying a sleeping bag). We were getting closer, but we didn’t realize it.
While most locals were unhappy with the traffic and idea of a rock festival, these enterprising people set up a hot dog and soda stand. $1 a dog; $1 a soda. We decided to wait than pay such a high price.
We found a spot a hundred yards + from the stage toward the left, spread out our sleeping bags, and sat down. This guy was in front of us. His hat and umbrella were unusual to me, so I took his picture. The umbrella was a parasol for the sunny afternoon. Saturday was a beautiful day.
Most of my pictures, as you’ll see, were simply of the crowd.
Two lighting towers and the still unfinished artists tent in the background. Enlarge this picture and count the number of rugby (wide-striped) shirts. Now see if you can find any tie-dyed shirts.
Quill. Saturday’s opening act. This is one of the shots through my binoculars.
When you get tired of group shots, you take a picture of a balloon. In the distance you can see one of the large tent areas that another farmers rented space for.
I often ask people to “look for the hippies” in these pictures. You won’t see many.
After Santana finished “Soul Sacrifice” 500,000 people stood to cheer, applaud, stomp, shout, and whistle. It was a physical event. I stood and took two pictures. This one and the next.
The pink and white tent in the background is the hospital tent. Ask people what the most common medical issue was that weekend and most will answer, “Drug-related.” While that was an issue, the fact that soda and beer cans had pop tops that came off completely and often were thrown on the ground meant that many bare-footed people cut their feet. That was the most common medical issue.
Not a crowd shot, but simple a pack of Marlboro and peace pillow on top of the typical sleeping bag many of us brought. Notice the bare feet.
Another crowd shot. Perhaps there was a reason why, but it’s lost in my memory.When I try to explain who was at the festival, I sometimes half-jokingly say, “White kids getting sunburned.”
Everyone was high? Not quite, but these friendly people offered a hit to Tony and me. We politely declined.
This lucky guy scored a can of soda. Now he has to find his way back.
Yet another crowd shot. Check again for the rugby shirts v any tie-dyed shirts.
Evening. Hungry. We meandered to the Food for Love tents. Empty. Neither food nor love.
The one night shot. Pretty sure it’s Mountain playing. Note the lighting on the left along the wooden walkway built for staff and musicians to get from the other side of the road to the staging area.
The Who had finished, the misty Sunday sunrise appeared, and the Jefferson Airplane would close Saturdays 22-hour marathon of music.
Some Sunday risers while some still sleep in their blow-up tents. Striped shirt @ 1 o’clock!
More Sunday morning risers with an abandoned tee-pee framework. And can you see the bubble? It’s why I took the picture.
Waiting for Sunday’s music to begin. A Hare Krishna person in the middle.
Click for sure to enlarge and read the sign of this guy who walked around with his banner–“Love Your Animal Friends, Don’t Eat Them.” His name was Moonfire.
Sunday music began with Joe Cocker. One of those binocular shots.
My last shot. This woman had the largest afro I’d ever seen and it was bleached white besides. Nope. I later found out it’s a wig. Note the kid (headband) sitting on his Jeep seat. I call him the smartest person at Woodstock because he was the only one with a seat!
17 thoughts on “Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures”
to john shelley
john, thank you so very much for being so unselfish
and for sharing these awesome stories and images
they are stunning.
i stumbled onto your site in a never ending search to find more and more first hand accounts of woodstock.
you and joyce are obviously wonderful human beings.
it is evident in your smiles and the way you shared your stories.
i was born 4-6-70 ( i like to think i was conceived around the time of woodstock ) but in NC not Bethel Ha Ha.
i was able to honor janis joplin in 2009 at the rock hall
i made and intalled correct plates etc on janis porsche
met her bro and sis, as well ascountry joe, bob neuwirth, powell st john, nick gravenites and janis’ manager john byrne cooke.
dave denning – benson , nc
Thank you for your very kind words. Peace.
Totally enjoyed your beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing them.
I loved your pictures! I was there at the time and was working for Food for Love. I might of been one of the reasons they ran out of food. Me and a couple of other workers in the stand I worked in had made signs, free food! Stone the workers! Michael Lang saw them and tore them up. He was really pissed. I remember him asking us were we stupid or crazy and all I could say was well I thought this was food for Love! I was only 16 at the time. I’m sure I lied about my age to get the job.
Great story. Thanks. Any more?
Thanks so much for sharing your photos and thoughts. Growing up in Washington State has given me the opportunity to stay in touch with what is truly hip. I cannot help but think that my frequent trips to The Gorge amphitheatre in George Washington would never have materialized if it weren’t for people like you. hope to see you this summer for the 50th anniversary.
You know my name and my email. Keep in touch.
Thanks so much for sharing these great pictures, John…!!! I wish I could have attended this amazing festival, but I was only 10 at the time.
Thank you for this wonderful drive down memory lane. I remember being stuck on route 17 in New York ,, we finally got off the highway and traveled the back roads through the small villages and towns back to Jersey where we lived.. we never made it to Woodstock. but the atmosphere everywhere in that upstate area was incredible. people of all ages flashing us the peace sign as we drove by.. Ill never forget it.. it was a time to remember.
That’s my elbow sticking out of the VW bus window on the right hand side of the picture on 17B. That’s definately my bus as I can remember those curtains. Nice site you have here.
Enjoyed the pics and the way you supplied comments!
Just had a chat with somebody about the nice way people greeted, V and a smile against your middle finger and an angry face with tong hanging out, accompanied with some pic of a scull on the clothing.
I was unable to attend ( was 8 and had to travel from the Netherlands, Europe.
Obviously the only connection to grass is, I was grees as…..
Thanks for the great photos. You should share them with the Bethel museum at the Woodstock site.
Your photos show the Woodstock audience was not made of hippies, but average (white) middle class kids. They also show 80% of the audience was male. Woodstock was a sausagefest.
I have shared them and they have occasionally used them. And your point about who was their is something I often point out on my tours at the Museum.
Its Tommaso thank you for sending me you woodstockwhisperer
Love Tommaso James
No mention of the rain that fell? I looked at the pictures trying to find myself! 50+ years and a faded memory of a time when drugs were an adventure that went along with the music. I hitch hiked with two friends from Mass. As we walked the road to the event we passed 2 cops smoking pot, so we knew we were in the right place! Truly an interesting time in the life of a 16 year old female.
Thanks for sharing. We could all use a little peace and love in our lives right about now.
Was a great sophomore summer for me and seven friends .music ruled the brain fog still does I will be 70 if I make nov. Woodstock to me was the beginning go boomers✌🏻Thx for sharing .
Thank you again Jim for the enriching tour you gave us!
Greetings from ‘The Belgian’