August 15, 1969, saw the beginning of the legendary Woodstock rock festival or, officially, Woodstock Music and Art Fair. This brilliant event was the acme and, at the same time, a symbol of the end of the explosive “hippie era.”
Woodstockwas to be held in the town of the same name in the US state of New York, but, due to lack of space, it took place nearby, in Bethel. The festival, which lasted until August 18, was visited by about 500,000 people from all over the world. What rallied an enormous crowd were the slogan “Peace, Love, and Happiness” and a desire to see and hear such cult musicians as Joe Cocker, Carlos Santana, and The Who.
Ben, a 64-year-old Amsterdam resident, shared his memories of Woodstock 1969 with The Day: “It was a thrilling adventure! I was a teenage hippie and traveled around the world to find the real meaning of life. When I got to the US, I had no money, so I hitch-hiked everywhere. Once I was picked up by some young people who were going to Woodstock. They asked if I wanted to go with them, but I did not even know what Woodstock was – I thought it was just a small town and immediately said: ‘OK.’ As a result I found myself at a huge festival with Jimmy Hendrix, Janice Joplin, and an ocean of hippies. Wow! It was raining, people were running happy, everything around was so beautiful and multicolored! What mostly stunned me was a sensation of freedom and the hippies’ kindness to one another.”
Later, commemorative festivals were held to mark Woodstock anniversaries. The latest of them occurred in Rome, New York, in 1999.