Photos And Stories From Woodstock That Show Its Miserable Side

Nadine Blanco | May 26, 2023 6:03 pm

August 1969’s Woodstock Festival was nothing short of legendary. With an epic lineup that included everyone from Jimi Hendrix to the Grateful Dead, the festival has gone down in history as one of the most iconic events of 1960’s youth counterculture and set a precedent for epic music festivals that we have today.

But “Three Days of Peace and Music” wasn’t quite as awesome as you might think. In fact, it was an overcrowded, trash-filled, muddy disaster that left a lot of people miserable for the entire weekend. Read on to see just exactly what Woodstock was actually like and why you’d be glad you weren’t there.

More Than Double The Expected Amount Of People Came

There had been plenty of festivals leading up to Woodstock where attendees only numbered up to 50,000. Everyone thought that Woodstock would draw the same type of crowd and organizers were surprised to see that nearly 200,000 tickets were sold leading up to the event, so that’s what they prepared for in terms of attendees.

Fans at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in August, 1969 near White Lake a hamlet of Bethel, New York.
Alvan Meyerowitz/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Alvan Meyerowitz/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Unexpectedly, double the amount of people showed up and many were buying tickets at the gate. Eventually, Woodstock was declared a free event when people decided to just walk in through gaps in the fences.