Rare Historical Photos: What You Didn't Know About Woodstock '69

Before Coachella and Tomorrowland, there was nothing as legendary as Woodstock. If you haven't heard about Woodstock, then we really don't know which planet you're from!

The Biggest Gig in History

<b>Woodstock isn't like Coachella or Tomorrowland. To start with, it's not all party music, nor was it an annual music festival. It was and it is still to date, the biggest and best concert ever held. Woodstock ran not only for three days, but for four with 32 of the best performers sharing the stage. There were over 400,000 people at the event.</b>

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair wasn't just a concert. It had a bigger purpose, especially during a time of civil upheaval and unrest in America. It was an opportunity for a generation to show their unity for peace and love through music.

What most of today's generation isn't aware of, is that Woodstock was originally a fund raising activity. Yes, it was supposed to be a fund raiser to build a recording studio and haven for rock-and-roll near the town of Woodstock, New York.

It all started when two lawyers from New York City approached two of NYC's known financiers John Roberts and Joel Rosenman. The lawyers had this idea of building a "studio in the woods" in Woodstock, Ulster County. Lawyers Michael Lang and Artie Kornfield saw this obscure ad published by Roberts and Rosenman: "Young men with unlimited capital looking for interesting legitimate investment opportunities and business propositions". Entrepreneurs Roberts and Rosenman had just finished building a studio complex in Manhattan, and were in search of a new business venture.

However, unconvinced with the idea of simply building a music studio, they suggested to organize a concert instead. A year later, the four gentlemen collaborated to form Woodstock Ventures. Yes, the purpose was for no other than holding concerts to raise funds for the studio that they wanted.


It Almost Didn't Happen

It's called Woodstock Festival. Ironically, the event didn't happen in Woodstock. Yes, the town of Woodstock refused to host the event! The event was held in Bethel, in Sullivan County, it's town Southwest of Woodstock, New York (which is why it was called Woodstock).

Initially publicized as "An Aquarian Exposition: Three Days of Peace and Music", the festival was originally planned to be in Wallkill, New York. However the residents of the town strongly opposed to the idea of having hundreds of hippies in their area. Likewise, the town of Woodstock also did not approve of having the concert in their area.

Thankfully, despite the short notice, the owner of the dairy farm 50 miles from Woodstock agreed to have the event on his property.

The Yasgurs

Meet Max Yasgur and his wife. Woodstock wouldn't have happened if not for this man. Yasgur was the owner of the dairy farm where the iconic festival took place. Well it didn't technically take place on his dairy farm, but rather on one of his farm's fields.

Dairy farmer Max Yasgur came to the rescue at the last minute when promoters thought that all hope was lost. Yasgur leased some portions of his 600-acre farm to Woodstock Ventures. Of course just as in other towns, the residents of Bethel also opposed to the point that they were even thinking of organizing a boycott from buying products of Yasgur's farm. But there really wasn't much that the residents could do since New York governor Nelson Rockefeller had approved such event.

Though hippies and music lovers have such high regard for Yasgur and had such high respect for him, it wasn't the same for his neighbors. After the festival, his neighbors sued him for property damage left by the crowd. Likewise, his own property suffered the most damage. Thankfully, he was given compensation for such.

Everyone's Welcome

Woodstock was suppose to run from August 15 to 17, 1969. But it ended up running until the 18th. The promoters originally expected a crowd of about 50,000. Nearing the event, the estimated attendance went up to 250,000. At the time the gates opened, the crowd was over 400,000.

Over 400,000 flocked to Woodstock. Why? Well, it was a 3-day gig of music and peace. Who wouldn't want to be part of the that? So yes, over 400,000 made their way to a dairy farm in New York City. You know what that means, right? Yes -- THE TRAFFIC WAS DEADLY.

But hey, it was Jimi Hendrix, so it's worth the wait.But the traffic was so bad. Look at what happened to the dude in the photo above. Most likely their car didn't have good A/C, he fainted. He needed medical attention but couldn't have any.

The promoters originally expected a crowd of about 50,000. Nearing the event, the estimated attendance went up to 250,000. At the time the gates opened, the crowd was over 400,000.

Over 400,000 people were at the gate. Not everyone had tickets though. Those that didn't have tickets simply made their way through gaps of the fences. Well, the venue was huge and there was no way to control the people getting on. So eventually, organizers decided to make Woodstock free for everyone. Just to see performances, most of the audience stayed on top of their cars. Mind you, it was a rainy weekend.