The official book commemorating the 50th anniversary of the iconic music festival Woodstock is now available. It was written by the festival’s co-creator and co-founder Michael Lang, and the large coffee table edition provides exclusive insight into the magic that made up, in his words “three days of peace and music.”
What started as a gathering for the counter-culture would become one of the most important and influential music festivals in history, attended by over half a million people who gathered at a dairy farm in the Catskills, USA for the three-day festival from 15th-18th August 1969. United in a message of peace, love, openness and cultural expression, Woodstock was a defining moment for that generation.
Featuring classic Sixties musicians including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santana, Janis Joplin and Joan Baez, the book also features Michael Lang’s memories and insights into the festival.
This 288-page illustrated edition features hundreds of photographs by famous and unknown photographers. It also contains highly collectible items such as the original designs and plans for the event, correspondence, set-lists and information on the artists’ fees for appearing.
“At Woodstock, we would focus our energy on peace, setting aside the onstage discussion of political issues to just groove on what might be possible. It was a chance to see if we could create the kind of world for which we’d been striving throughout the sixties: That would be our political statement – proving that peace and understanding were possible and creating a testament to the value of the counterculture. It would be three days of peace and music.” Michael Lang
The official photographer at Woodstock was Henry Diltz and his work is throughout this book. He was at the location for two weeks, and shot everything he saw: from empty fields of cows to the construction of the first stages, crowds arriving and the aftermath. He captured countless performances and many behind-the-scenes moments as musicians hung out backstage.
“One of the miracles of Woodstock was the bridging of a generation gap. People were generally afraid of our generation – there was little communication with our parents; people were put off by our lifestyle, sexuality, music, our position against the Vietnam War, and our penchant for marijuana and psychedelics. Consequently there was a lot of fear among the general population about us ... once the kids started to arrive and mingled with the townsfolk, and interacted with the businesses and the residents of the surrounding towns, suddenly they were just kids. And barriers fell: the local women were making sandwiches; farmers were pulling cars out of ditches. It turned into a big lovefest ... it shows what can happen when communication is improved, when stereotypes are squashed, and people become just people.” Michael Lang