It was sold as '3 days of Peace & Music,' but Max Yasgur's festival became so much more. It became iconic, and a slap in the face to an America that preached freedom, but offered little in return. Unjust wars in Vietnam persisted, and the persecution of blacks raged on. It was a divisive period in America, and Woodstock's three-day event of music and psychedelic escapism was perhaps just as synonymous with the period.
But then again, how did an event, held on only 600-acres of dairy farmland in the New York countryside, filled only with peace-loving hippies, become so fabled? Well, as these 30 striking images show, the festival spawned a plethora of ideas and influences. Fashion lines became inspired by more garish garments; musicians became energised with writing lyrics that stood for more than just the wants of their record labels, and ultimately, a younger generation dragged America into a new period of enlightenment and possibility.
Would-be festival-goers travelled far and wide to an event that captivated the minds and souls of millions of young Americans. Some even hitchhiked to the festival, which was billed as a once-in-a-lifetime event.
But most of all, Woodstock gave thousands of suburban young folk living in the confines of their parent's generation the opportunity to escape and meet all kinds of new and exciting people. It was even rumoured that many never returned home, and instead headed straight to the bright lights of New York City once the event had finished.
Recreational drug use was common, which is illustrated in the picture below as a woman advertises acid for $1. There was little policing at the event, which in part allowed attendants to sell what they wanted, although such freedom gave the press all the ammunition they needed to shroud the event in initial controversy with a string of negative reports.
Designers remain influenced by the colourful attire that was sported at Woodstock. Today, festival gear is now a fashion line in itself.
Romances blossomed and many couples regularly return to the famed site.
While 186,000 tickets were officially sold, those numbers were dwarfed by those still wanting in on the action. As a result, the event became free to everyone and created a demand so high traffic jams stretched over 8 miles long. It's believed over a million people tried to get to the event.
In the words of the festival's chief medical officer, those in attendance were anything but trouble. "These people are really beautiful. There has been no violence whatsoever which is really remarkable for a crowd of this size."
Even pets were welcome.
Jimi Hendrix was Woodstock's headliner and wowed the crowd with a pulsating performance that is regarded by fans and music critics as his all-time best.
Several media outlets wrote misleading and often derogatory things about Woodstock and it wasn't until the festival finished that many newspapers reported more favourably on it after parents- who were told nothing but good things about the event from their children- phoned up the outlets whose journalists reported otherwise.
The VW campervan was a popular mode of transport for revellers travelling to Woodstock, which led to the model being nicknamed, 'The Hippy Van.'
Various posters were created to promote the festival, and if you can find an original, you might be able to sell it for a lot of money!
Numerous attendees listened to the performances while under the influence of various narcotics, which arguably created a whole genre of music if one looks at the modern electronic dance genre.
An aerial view of the event, captured by a film crew working on the 1970 Oscar-winning Woodstock documentary, highlighted the magnitude of the event.
Space was sparse, but people found ways around such limitations. In fact, it's believed over 500,000 people attended the four-day event.
Woodstock practically established its own society after various pathways and communities were dotted within the nearby forests. Quirky signposts, directing people to, 'Groovy Way' and other similar places were also common.
Spirituality characterized large swathes of the festival, with various people seeing the event as a place of worship.
The late female rocker, Janis Joplin, dazzled the 1969 crowd, and her performances were often viewed as 'electric.' Sadly, however, only one year after her iconic Woodstock performance, Joplin joined the infamous 27 club when she died of a heroin overdose.
Photographers weren't short of beautiful faces and some were even offered modeling gigs after being discovered by professional photographers.
There was no official merchandise at Woodstock, which is hard to wrap your head around for a festival of that magnitude. So instead of T-shirts, hoodies, and hats with 'Woodstock' emblazoned on the design, memorabilia came in the form of the various garments and patterned clothes from creative festival goers.
Families also basked in what was mostly a celebration of young people. Nevertheless, the families that were in attendance added a sense of community to a festival that was first and foremost about peace and love.
Those who gained access to the festival would have memories to last them a lifetime, and the festival arguably defined the counterculture movement. But the journey back wasn't the greatest of experiences.....