August 15, 1969. 44 years ago today. Woodstock. Rolling Stone got it right (for once) when they called it one of the 50 moments that changed rock and roll.
In all, 32 acts performed over the four day event, in front of over 400,000 people.
Day 1 began a little after 5 in the afternoon with Richie Havens performing a nearly two hour set, followed by Swami Satchidananda who gave an opening speech and invocation for the festival, Sweetwater, and Bert Sommer.
Tim Hardin followed with a short that included ‘If I Were A Carpenter’, a song he wrote that became Bobby Darin’s last major hit, ‘Reason To Believe’ – later covered by Rod Stewart, and ‘Simple Song Of Freedom’ a Bobby Darin song that became Tim’s biggest commercial success as an artist.
Ravi Shankar played through the rain for 35 minutes, Melanie began a short set that began at 11pm, followed by Arlo Guthrie who kicked off his set at 11:55pm with ‘Coming Into Los Angeles’ and ending with ‘Amazing Grace’ at 12;25 am.
A six months pregnant Joan Baez was the final act of the first day starting her set at 12:55am and ending with ‘We Shall Overcome’ at 2:00am.
Ticket prices, for those who paid, were $18 per day and $24 for all three (spilling into four) days.
Here are some video highlights of the historic first day: