History of Woodstock: 50 Years Ago

Friday, August 15

  • Richie Havens
  • Swami Satchidananda — gave the invocation for the festival
  • Sweetwaterthe first GROUP to play at the Woodstock festival. Their music style is a fusion of rock, jazz, folk, psychedelia, Latin and even classical music.
  • The Incredible String Band
  • Bert Sommer
  • Tim Hardin
  • Ravi Shankar — father of singer Norah Jones
  • MelanieMelanie Safka did a solo act, though she’s well known for her Top Ten “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” with the Edwin Hawkins Singers, a popular gospel group. She was popular on the Smothers Brothers TV show during this time with “Brand New Key.”
  • Arlo Guthrieson of folk musician Woody Guthrie, Arlo is famous for “Alice’s Restaurant Masacree.” He also played “Amazing Grace” and (somewhat inaccurately) told some of the history behind the song. It appeared in the 1969 movie “Alice’s Restaurant,” further re-popularizing it in the ’60s, to be followed by Judy Collins.
  • Joan BaezSan Francisco Bay Area folk singer, social and political activist who once dated Steve Jobs of Apple.

Saturday, August 16

  • Quill — forty-minute set of four songs
  • Keef Hartley Band
  • Country Joe McDonaldCountry Joe & the “Fish” (Barry Melton) became popular for the “FISH chorus” associated with his Vietnam song, was a local favorite in Berkeley, where he lives, for anti-war rallies.
  • John Sebastian(of the Lovin’ Spoonful) I once saw him live when he was doing warm-up for standup comedian Steve Martin. The impatient and unappreciative audience shouted Sebastian off the stage in preference of Martin.
  • Sha-Na-Naa New York ’50s revival and send-up band made up mostly of students from Columbia University, later made famous in the movie “Grease” where they appeared as Johnny Casino & The Gamblers.
  • SantanaCarlos Santana is playing a residency in Las Vegas now.
  • Canned Heat
  • Mountain
  • Grateful Deada popular Haight-Ashbury based band. I saw them once in Oakland. Even in an open-air venue, the smell of burning hemp was overwhelming.
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival — Bay Area group. Lead singer John Fogerty has recently experienced a comeback with tours. The song “Who’ll Stop the Rain” he claims was inspired by Woodstock.
  • Janis Joplin with The Kozmic Blues Bandanother popular Haight-Ashbury band.
  • Sly & the Family StoneSly Stone was known as a popular San Francisco disk jockey.
  • The Who began at 4 AM, kicking off a 25-song set including songs from their rock opera Tommy — I have seen the band perform live half a dozen times, including during the early ’70s when at the San Francisco Cow Palace drummer Keith Moon twice passed out into his drum set from a drug overdose. Guitarist Pete Townsend excused it as “It must have been something he ate. It’s your American food.” They’ve been performing now for over 50 years.
  • Jefferson Airplanethe first of the San Francisco psychedelic rock groups of the 1960s to become internationally known, later changing their name to Jefferson Starship, and then Starship.

Sunday, August 17 to Monday, August 18

  • Joe Cocker and The Grease Band dressed in classic tie-dye.
  • Country Joe and the Fish
  • Ten Years After
  • The Band
  • Blood, Sweat & Tears
  • Johnny Winter featuring his brother, Edgar Winter
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Youngformed by refugees from three 1960s bands: The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and The Hollies. The band is primarily known for their three-part vocal harmonies. The Summer of 2009 they were touring without Young.
  • Neil Young
  • Paul Butterfield Blues Band
  • Sha-Na-Na
  • Jimi Hendrix



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