Explore Woodstock 1969

In August 1969, over half a million people came to upstate New York for the 3 days of Peace & Music. The Woodstock Music & Arts Fair.

“Woodstock 1969 was a reaction by the youth of its time and the conditions we faced,” says Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang. “We proved that it is possible to live together in harmony and with compassion…with only our best selves represented. Woodstock gave people around the world hope, which is why I think it remains relevant today.”

Explore the history of Woodstock. And come make history with us. Again.

DAY 1 ARTISTS

RICHIE HAVENS

Woodstock’s first performer held the crowd for nearly three hours – in part because many artists scheduled to perform were delayed by standstill traffic. Freedom was an improvised jam that became his signature moment.

SETLIST

  1. From the Prison
  2. Get Together
  3. From the Prison (Reprise)
  4. The Minstrel from Gault
  5. I’m a Stranger Here
  6. High Flying Bird
  7. I Can’t Make It Anymore
  8. With a Little Help from My Friends
  9. Handsome Johnny
  10. Strawberry Fields Forever > Hey Jude
  11. Freedom (Motherless Child)

SRI SWAMI SATCHIDINANDA

A religious teacher, spiritual master and yoga adept, Swami Satchidananda opened the festival, beginning with the words “I am overwhelmed with joy to see the entire youth of America gathered here in the name of the fine art of music.”

SRI SWAMI SATCHIDINANDA

SWEETWATER

This psychedelic folk band was scheduled to open the show, but got stuck in traffic on the way, giving Richie Havens his opportunity. They would reunite to play at Woodstock ’94.

SETLIST

  1. Motherless Child
  2. Look Out
  3. For Pete’s Sake
  4. Day Song
  5. What’s Wrong
  6. Crystal Spider
  7. Two Worlds
  8. Why Oh Why
  9. Let the Sunshine In
  10. Oh Happy Day

SWEETWATER

BERT SOMMER

This talented folk artist played a set of originals and covers, earning a standing ovation for his rendition of Simon & Garfunkel’s America.

SETLIST

  1. Jennifer
  2. The Road to Travel
  3. I Wondered Where You Be
  4. She’s Gone
  5. Things Are Going My Way
  6. And When It’s Over
  7. Jeanette
  8. America
  9. A Note That Read
  10. Smile

BERT SOMMER

TIM HARDIN

His song, If I Were A Carpenter, has been covered by artists ranging from Johnny Cash to Robert Plant. He performed it solo on the Woodstock stage followed by a full set with his backing band.

SETLIST

  1. How Can We Hang On to a Dream?
  2. Susan
  3. If I Were a Carpenter
  4. Reason to Believe
  5. You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie
  6. Speak Like a Child
  7. Snow White Lady
  8. Blue on My Ceiling
  9. Simple Song of Freedom
  10. Misty Roses

TIM HARDIN

RAVI SHANKAR

As the rain began to fall, the Indian Sitar Maestro entranced the festival crowd with a set that was both virtuosic and spiritual.

SETLIST

  1. Raga Puriya-Dhanashri/Gat In Sawarital
  2. Tabla Solo In Jhaptal
  3. Raga Manj Kmahaj (AIap, Jor, Dhun In Kaharwa Tal)

RAVI SHANKAR

MELANIE SAFKA

Melanie’s solo set was short but sweet, featuring her radio hit Momma Momma. During her set the audience lit up candles to accompany the music, inspiring her to write the hit song Lay Down (Candles In The Rain).

SETLIST

  1. Close to It All
  2. Momma Momma
  3. Beautiful People
  4. Animal Crackers
  5. Mr. Tambourine Man
  6. Tuning My Guitar
  7. Birthday of the Sun

MELANIE SAFKA

ARLO GUTHRIE

Carrying on in his father Woody Guthrie’s footsteps, Arlo created storytelling songs that protested against social injustice – a fitting troubadour for the Woodstock crowd.

SETLIST

  1. Coming into Los Angeles
  2. Wheel of Fortune
  3. Walking Down the Line
  4. Arlo Speech: Exodus
  5. Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep
  6. Every Hand in the Land
  7. Amazing Grace

ARLO GUTHRIE

JOAN BAEZ

The last act of Day 1, Joan wished everyone a good morning as she took the stage at 1:00 am. Her perfectly arranged set combined with her beautiful and skillful voice was a fine finish for a chaotic and exhausting first day.

SETLIST

  1. Oh Happy Day
  2. The Last Thing on My Mind
  3. I Shall Be Released
  4. Story about how the Federal Marshals came to take David Harris into custody
  5. No Expectations
  6. Joe Hill
  7. Sweet Sir Galahad
  8. Hickory Wind
  9. Drug Store Truck Driving Man duet with Jeffrey Shurtleff
  10. I Live One Day at a Time
  11. Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South
  12. Let Me Wrap You In My Warm and Tender Love
  13. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  14. We Shall Overcome

JOAN BAEZ

DAY 2 ARTISTS

QUILL

After a night of storms, the sun broke through just as this Boston-based rock band launched into their 4-song 40-minute set – a lively opening act for Day 2 of the Festival.

SETLIST

  1. They Live the Life
  2. That’s How I Eat
  3. Driftin’
  4. Waitin’ for You

QUILL

COUNTRY JOE MCDONALD

He would return to the Woodstock stage on Day 3 with his full band, but while Santana waited in the wings, Country Joe warmed things up with a relaxed set of solo acoustic numbers.

SETLIST

  1. Janis
  2. Donovan’s Reef
  3. Heartaches by the Number
  4. Ring of Fire
  5. Tennessee Stud
  6. Rockin’ Round the World
  7. Flying High
  8. I Seen a Rocket
  9. The “Fish” Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag

COUNTRY JOE MCDONALD

SANTANA

With their debut album not yet released, Santana was relatively unknown. Their powerful, magical, transformative performance changed that. Carlos led his band with virtuosic style and drummer Michael Shrieve brought it all home during Soul Sacrifice.

SETLIST

  1. Waiting
  2. Evil Ways
  3. You Just Don’t Care
  4. Savor
  5. Jingo
  6. Persuasion
  7. Soul Sacrifice
  8. Fried Neckbones and Some Home Fries

JOHN SEBASTIAN

The Lovin’ Spoonful leader – at the festival as an attendee – was recruited for a short acoustic set while crews cleaned up the stage from another rainfall. He dedicated closer, Younger Generation, to a newborn baby at the festival.

SETLIST

  1. How Have You Been
  2. Rainbows All Over Your Blues
  3. I Had a Dream
  4. Darlin’ Be Home Soon
  5. Younger Generation

JOHN SEBASTIAN

KEEF HARTLEY BAND

The first British band to take the stage at Woodstock – and the first U.S. gig for the band – they played a hypnotic mix of jazz, blues and rock & roll.

SETLIST

  1. Spanish Fly
  2. She’s Gone
  3. Too Much Thinkin’
  4. Believe in You
  5. Rock Me Baby
  6. Sinnin’ for You / Leaving Trunk / Just to Cry / Sinnin’ for You

KEEF HARTLEY BAND

THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND

After refusing to perform in Friday night’s downpour, this psychedelic folk band from Edinburgh, Scotland offered a decidedly different sound for a day dominated by rock.

SETLIST

  1. Invocation
  2. The Letter
  3. Gather ‘Round
  4. This Moment
  5. Come with Me
  6. When You Find Out Who You Are

THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND

CANNED HEAT

Arriving by helicopter and taking the stage as the sun began to set, Canned Heat brought their blues rock to the crowd, with their performance of Going Up The Country becoming central to the Woodstock documentary.

SETLIST

  1. I’m Her Man
  2. Going Up the Country
  3. A Change Is Gonna Come / Leaving This Town
  4. Too Many Drivers at the Wheel
  5. I Know My Baby
  6. Woodstock Boogie
  7. On the Road Again

CANNED HEAT

MOUNTAIN

Things got even heavier as Leslie West led his band Mountain through an 11 song blues rock set. Only their 4th live gig, the band poured on the power that would become their trademark.

SETLIST

  1. Blood of the Sun
  2. Stormy Monday
  3. Theme for an Imaginary Western
  4. Long Red
  5. For Yasgur’s Farm (song was untitled at the time)
  6. Beside the Sea
  7. Waiting to Take You Away
  8. Dreams of Milk and Honey / Guitar Solo
  9. Blind Man
  10. Dirty Shoes Blues
  11. Southbound Train

MOUNTAIN

GRATEFUL DEAD

Bringing their Haight Ashbury vibe with them, the Dead jammed until midnight. Hampered by electrical issues on the flooded stage, they ended it all with an almost everlasting take on Turn On Your Lovelight.

SETLIST

  1. St. Stephen
  2. Mama Tried
  3. Dark Star
  4. High Time
  5. Turn On Your Lovelight

GRATEFUL DEAD

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s set, featuring John Fogerty, was one of the true highlights of the festival. Though they started late in the night the way they played their already wildly popular songs demonstrated a band that was at the top of their game.

SETLIST

  1. Born on the Bayou
  2. Green River
  3. Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)
  4. Commotion
  5. Bootleg
  6. Bad Moon Rising
  7. Proud Mary
  8. I Put a Spell on You
  9. The Night Time Is the Right Time
  10. Keep on Chooglin’
  11. Suzy Q

DAY 3 ARTISTS

THE WHO

Scheduled to play Saturday, The Who took the stage at 5 am on Sunday. They played their rock opera Tommy, reaching an awe-inspiring moment as the sun rose during their performance of See Me, Feel Me.

SETLIST

  1. Heaven and Hell
  2. I Can’t Explain
  3. It’s a Boy
  4. 1921
  5. Amazing Journey
  6. Sparks
  7. Eyesight to the Blind (The Hawker)
  8. Christmas
  9. Acid Queen
  10. Pinball Wizard
  11. The Abbie Hoffman Incident
  12. Do You Think It’s Alright?
  13. Fiddle About
  14. There’s a Doctor
  15. Go to the Mirror
  16. Smash the Mirror
  17. I’m Free
  18. Tommy’s Holiday Camp
  19. We’re Not Gonna Take It
  20. See Me, Feel Me
  21. Summertime Blues
  22. Shakin’ All Over
  23. My Generation
  24. Naked Eye

THE WHO

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE

One of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock, Grace Slick and her bandmates performed in what she characterized as the “morning maniac music” slot, riffing through iconic songs like Somebody To Love and White Rabbit.

SETLIST

  1. The Other Side of This Life
  2. Somebody to Love
  3. 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
  4. Won’t You Try / Saturday Afternoon
  5. Eskimo Blue Day
  6. Plastic Fantastic Lover
  7. Wooden Ships
  8. Uncle Sam Blues
  9. Volunteers
  10. The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil
  11. Come Back Baby
  12. White Rabbit
  13. The House at Pooneil Corners

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE

JOE COCKER

Cocker’s performance was a triumphal success. Especially well received was his cover of the Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends. Shortly after Cocker’s gig a heavy thunderstorm washed over the festival, bringing everything to a stop for several hours. He was heard to say “Did I do that?”

SETLIST

  1. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring (without Joe Cocker)
  2. 40,000 Headmen (without Joe Cocker)
  3. Dear Landlord
  4. Something’s Coming On
  5. Do I Still Figure in Your Life
  6. Feelin’ Alright
  7. Just Like a Woman
  8. Let’s Go Get Stoned
  9. I Don’t Need No Doctor
  10. I Shall Be Released
  11. Hitchcock Railway
  12. Something to Say
  13. With a Little Help from My Friends

JOE COCKER

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH

The full band took the stage around 6:30 pm, rolling through a 14-song set that included powerful protests of the Vietnam War, including their infamous Fish Cheer.

SETLIST

  1. Rock & Soul Music
  2. (Thing Called) Love
  3. Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
  4. Sing, Sing, Sing
  5. Summer Dresses
  6. Friend, Lover, Woman, Wife
  7. Silver and Gold
  8. Maria
  9. The Love Machine
  10. Ever Since You Told Me That You Love Me (I’m a Nut)
  11. Short Jam (instrumental)
  12. Crystal Blues
  13. Rock & Soul Music (Reprise)
  14. “Fish” Cheer > I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-To-Die Rag

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH

JANIS JOPLIN

Arriving by helicopter on Saturday, Joplin’s set began at 2 am, and featured powerful takes on many of her standards, with the crowd enthusiastically demanding an encore – the fiery closing number Ball and Chain.

SETLIST

  1. Raise Your Hand
  2. As Good as You’ve Been to This World
  3. To Love Somebody
  4. Summertime
  5. Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
  6. Kozmic Blues
  7. Can’t Turn You Loose
  8. Work Me, Lord
  9. Piece of My Heart
  10. Ball and Chain

JANIS JOPLIN

TEN YEARS AFTER

Struggling mightily with technical difficulties due to high humidity, this British heavy blues rock band still gave a bravura performance, and their rendition of I’m Going Home was featured in both the subsequent film and soundtrack album.

SETLIST

  1. Spoonful
  2. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
  3. Hobbit
  4. I Can’t Keep from Crying Sometimes
  5. Help Me
  6. I’m Going Home

TEN YEARS AFTER

THE BAND

Drawing heavily from their classic album Music From Big Pink, The Band, who at the time lived and played near the festival grounds, delivered a breathtaking set of songs that are now folk-rock classics.

SETLIST

  1. Chest Fever
  2. Don’t Do It
  3. Tears of Rage
  4. We Can Talk
  5. Long Black Veil
  6. Don’t You Tell Henry
  7. Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos
  8. This Wheel’s on Fire
  9. I Shall Be Released
  10. The Weight
  11. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever

THE BAND

JOHNNY WINTER

This Texas blues legend took the stage at midnight, playing an electrifying hour plus set highlighted by his slide guitar and amazing solos. He was joined by brother Edgar for 3 songs before closing things out, appropriately enough, with a cover of Johnny B. Goode.

SETLIST

  1. Mama, Talk to Your Daughter
  2. Leland Mississippi Blues
  3. Mean Town Blues
  4. You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now > Mean Mistreater
  5. I Can’t Stand It (with Edgar Winter)
  6. Tobacco Road (with Edgar Winter)
  7. Tell the Truth (with Edgar Winter)
  8. Johnny B. Goode

JOHNNY WINTER

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE

This pioneering Funk Rock band was remarkably fresh and powerful considering their 3:30 am start, delivering what is widely considered one of their best performances – and among the greatest moments on the Woodstock ’69 stage.

SETLIST

  1. M’Lady
  2. Sing A Simple Song
  3. You Can Make It If You Try
  4. Everyday People
  5. Dance To The Music
  6. Music Lover
  7. I Want To Take You Higher
  8. Love City
  9. Stand!

SLY & THE FAMILY STONE

BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS

With the belting baritone of lead singer David-Clayton Thomas backed by a combination of brass and rock musicians, Blood, Sweat and Tears was at the top of their game for the Woodstock crowd.

SETLIST

  1. More and More
  2. Just One Smile
  3. Something’s Coming on
  4. More Than You’ll Ever Know
  5. Spinning Wheel
  6. Sometimes in Winter
  7. Smiling Phases
  8. God Bless the Child
  9. And When I Die
  10. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG

The band that later went on to make Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock their own was performing their second live gig as a foursome. The group played separate acoustic and electric sets, with Neil Young joining them in the middle of the acoustic set.

SETLIST

  1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
  2. Blackbird
  3. Helplessly Hoping
  4. Guinnevere
  5. Marrakesh Express
  6. 4 + 20
  7. Mr. Soul
  8. I’m Wonderin’
  9. You Don’t Have to Cry
  10. Pre-Road Downs
  11. Long Time Gone
  12. Bluebird Revisited
  13. Sea of Madness
  14. Wooden Ships
  15. Find the Cost of Freedom
  16. 49 Bye-Byes

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG

PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

Led by harmonica virtuoso Paul Butterfield, this group was known for combining electric Chicago blues with a rock urgency – a wake-up call for the faithful who were there for their 6 am start.

SETLIST

  1. Born Under a Bad Sign
  2. No Amount of Loving
  3. Driftin’ and Driftin’
  4. Morning Sunrise
  5. All in a Day
  6. Love March
  7. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

PAUL BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND

SHA NA NA

This 50s nostalgia act had just formed in 1969, and their set at Woodstock helped catapult them to national fame, with their cover of At The Hop making it into the documentary.

SETLIST

  1. Get A Job
  2. Come Go With Me
  3. Silhuettes
  4. Teen Angel
  5. Jailhouse Rock
  6. Wipe Out
  7. Blue Moon
  8. (Who Wrote) The Book of Love
  9. Little Darling
  10. At The Hop
  11. Duke Of Earl
  12. Get A Job (Reprise)

SHA NA NA

JIMI HENDRIX

Jimi and his band took the stage at 9 am Monday morning – the closing act for the Festival. While many had left, the thousands who remained witnessed one of the longest, most famous sets of Hendrix’ career – including his epic take on The Star Spangled Banner. According to Billy Cox, Hendrix’ bassist, Jimi looked out at the crowd and said “Look, the audience is sending a lot of energy to us on stage. Let’s use that and send it back to them.”

SETLIST

  1. Introduction
  2. Message to Love
  3. Getting My Heart Back Together Again > Hear My Train a-Comin’
  4. Spanish Castle Magic
  5. Red House
  6. Mastermind
  7. Lover Man
  8. Foxy Lady
  9. Beginning > Jam Back at the House
  10. Izabella
  11. Gypsy Woman
  12. Fire
  13. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
  14. Stepping Stone
  15. Star Spangled Banner
  16. Purple Haze
  17. Woodstock Improvisation
  18. Villanova Junction
  19. Hey Joe

1969 IMAGES

Michael Lang photo courtesy of George Holz.