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Woodstock Fun Facts

Woodstock Fun Facts

Everyone knows it was historic, but what don’t you know about Woodstock?

We’ve compiled a few fun facts you can use that make you sound like you’re a Woodstock aficionado!

Did you know that Joan Baez was six months pregnant when she played the first day of Woodstock?

Mountain, who went on to have a hit with “Mississippi Queen” (you might know it from the video game Rock Band) was playing their third gig as a band.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were paid for an electric set and an acoustic set – Neil Young didn’t play during most of the acoustic set.

Michael Shrieve, Santana’s drummer who played what’s been described as an “electrifying drum solo” during the extended version of “Soul Sacrifice,” was the youngest performer at Woodstock.  He had just turned 20.  He’s now in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Santana.


Richie Havens’ Song “Freedom” Was An Accident!

The acts that were scheduled to go on stage before him were stuck in traffic.  Havens was there, so the organizers asked him to go on early.  He did his set, but the other acts hadn’t shown up.  So he played an encore of basically every song he knew.  Still no acts.

So – he just started strumming, as we all tend to do, and the word “freedom” popped into his head. He made up the words as he went, and ended up with the now-famous song “Freedom.”  He later told the story of having to see the movie Woodstock, so he could hear how the song went!


No Reported Incidents Of Violence

That’s right – 400,000 people and no one stabbed anyone, got beat up or died.  Well, Abbie Hoffman did get hit in the head by Pete Townshend’s guitar neck after rushing the stage during a break in The Who’s set and delivering a political message. But – that’s it.  Just people listening to music together and having a good time. Oh for 1969!


Who Got Paid What?
  • Jimi Hendrix – $30,000 for two sets plus $2,000 for expenses   (2016 = $200,000)

There was a cap of $15,000 per artist at Woodstock so a deal was made for Hendrix to play two sets, an acoustic set and a set with his band.  He played last – to a crowd about half the size of the original 400,000 attendees.

  • Blood, Sweat & Tears – $15,000   (2016 = $100,000)
  • Joan Baez – $10,000   (2016 = $67,000)
  • Iron Butterfly – $5,000 + $5,000 for light show   (2016 = $67,000)*
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival – $10,000   (2016 = $67,000)
  • The Band – $7,500   (2016 = $50,000)
  • Janis Joplin – $7,500   (2016 = $50,000)
  • Jefferson Airplane – $7,500   (2016 = $50,000)
  • Sly and the Family Stone – $7,000   (2016 = $47,000)
  • Canned Heat – $6,500   (2016 = $43,500)
  • The Who – $6,250   (2016 = $42,00)
  • Richie Havens – $6,000   (2016 = $40,000)
  • Arlo Guthrie – $5,000   (2016 = $33,000)
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – $5,000   (2016 = $33,000)
  • Country Joe McDonald – $2,500 was his second gig   (2016 = $17,000)
  • John Sebastian – $1,000 was attending and asked to play while waiting for acts to show   (2016 = $7,000)


Who Passed?
  • The Doors – cancelled
  • The Jeff Beck Group – Jeff Beck intentionally disbanded the group prior to Woodstock. Keyboard player performed with Jefferson Airplane
  • Led Zepplin – passed due to the number of acts and being “just another band on the bill”
  • The Byrds – passed
  • Chicago – manager moved their dates for another gig to conflict with the 17th and open their slot to Santana (who he also managed)
  • The Moody Blues – backed out
  • Frank Zappa – declined
  • Joni Mitchell – cancelled to be on the Dick Cavett Show
  • Procol Harem – declined
  • *Iron Butterfly – got stuck at the LaGuardia Airport, demanded a helicopter be sent, were told no in a fairly explicit telegram (it was 1969 kids) and missed their slot!


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