It seems like every other week, there’s a new music festival popping up around the country promising to be the greatest weekend ever. And in addition to all of these new ones, you have your staples like Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Hangout.
But if you find yourself longing for the days of going to a concert without catching people culturally appropriating Native American headdresses, taking selfies every five seconds, or watching the show through their tiny phone screens as they record the whole thing, you might have just been born in the wrong time.
Keep scrolling to see the real glory days of music festivals.
Woodstock Music Festival took place over three days in August 1969.
It was advertised as “Three Days of Peace and Music.” Many famous musicians of the time played at the festival, including Santana, Grateful Dead, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
The people of Bethel, New York, were unprepared for the more than 400,000 people that showed up to the festival.
Bethel is a small town in upstate New York that didn’t have the infrastructure to deal with that many people. Apparently, the novice organisers were expecting around 50,000 attendees.
You’d think that in 2018, with so many rules and regulations surrounding festivals, it’d be impossible to have another miscalculation like that. But 2017’s failed Fyre Festival proved that there are still some kinks in the festival business.
Woodstock attendees were called hippies which, at the time, was considered a derogatory term.
Being a hippie now is trendy – today, flower crowns, tie-dye, and meditation are staples of many an Instagram celebrity.
They had undeniable style, though.
People drove from hundreds of miles away to check out Woodstock.
In the words of Max Yasgur, whose land was used for the festival, “You have proven something to the world… that half a million kids can get together for fun and music and have nothing but fun and music.”
And climbed sound towers in order to get a better view.
Now, every festival is teeming with security guards – they ruin all the fun.
Jimi Hendrix’s famous two-hour-long set was delayed for hours due to weather and technical issues. He was supposed to go on at midnight on Sunday, but didn’t play until 9 a.m. Monday.
The legendary guitarist’s most famous performance, a blistering rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” took place at around 9 a.m. to a crowd of 200,000 people – more than half of the festival-goers had to leave before his performance.
Imagine an artist played nine hours late now – that would never fly.
The organisers of Woodstock provided free food — an unheard of concept in 2018.
Well, the food originally wasn’t supposed to be free. But when the food vendors were overwhelmed by the crowds, the people of Bethel and the rest of Sullivan County banded together to donate food, water, and supplies.
Compare that to a $US16 hot dog and just try not to roll your eyes.
Woodstock was the beginning of a movement.
Never before (or after) has there been such a peaceful gathering of that many people. According to Rolling Stone, “Woodstock pulled off the ultimate magic act of the 1960s: turning utter rain-soaked chaos into the greatest rock festival ever and the decade’s most famous and successful experiment in peace and community.”
And simply: it was just a really good time.
The popularity of the original Woodstock inspired Woodstock ’94, in honour of the 25th anniversary.
It’s hard to believe that Woodstock will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019 – what will we do to commemorate the occasion?
In 1994, in honour of 25 years, a new festival, Woodstock ’94 took place in Saugerties, New York, around two hours from the original site.
The vibe was very similar to the original festival — down to the lack of preparedness.
Again, the crowds were much higher than expected – but festival go-ers still had fun seeing classic ’90s acts such as Sheryl Crow, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and The Cranberries.
Plus, there were some repeat guests from the original Woodstock: Santana, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Country Joe McDonald, Joe Cocker, and The Band.
The weather was also the same as the first Woodstock.
It rained at both, which probably contributed to the chaos. Many people and acts alike played in the mud.
It looked like a lot of fun.
This picture could have been taken in 2018 — both crowdsurfing and overalls are popular today.
Another long-running music festival is the Newport Folk Festival. It’s where Bob Dylan made the switch from acoustic to electric, changing the game forever.
The Newport Folk Festival, located in Newport, Rhode Island, is decidedly less wild than many of its music festival counterparts – but that doesn’t make it any less cool. It’s one of the longest-running festivals in the US, having started in July 1959.
There were no shortage of hippies at the Newport Folk Festival either.
The 1965 lineup included Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band – plus the fateful first electric performance of Bob Dylan that resulted in boos and jeers.
Burning Man is another popular festival that, shockingly, has remained popular since its beginnings in 1986.
Burning Man isn’t exactly a music festival. In its own words, it’s “A city in the desert. A culture of possibility. A network of dreamers and doers.”
The festival gets a lot of characters, like these two attendees of the 2000 festival.
Burning Man is still going strong over 30 years later. The 2018 festival is from August 26 to September 3.
Burning Man is named for its very own “Burning Man,” a 52-foot-tall wooden man that is burned at the end of the festival.
It’s hard to believe that a festival would still be allowed to burn a gigantic wooden sculpture.
The “Man” is burnt at the end of the week, but in the days leading up to the “Burn,” people take advantage of the structure in many different ways.
Keith Sullivan and Erica Muehsam got married underneath the Man in 1997 – and they’re not the only ones.
Across the pond, the UK’s biggest festival is Glastonbury Festival, which started in 1970.
According to The Telegraph, Glastonbury (affectionately called Glasto) is the largest greenfield festival in the world, and was attended by 175,000 people. But it wasn’t always that large.
The iconic Glastonbury pyramid stage made its first appearance in 1971.
The pyramid stage is still used at the festival to this day.
Why a pyramid? According to the Glastonbury website, “the apex projects energy upwards while energy from the stars and sun are drawn down” – a true hippie answer.
Before e-tix and the internet, people camped out to get good spots.
But the camping didn’t end there…
Back then, festival-goers even went without tents. All they needed was the music.
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