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 four-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 the more lucid 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.