What must it have been like to have been at Woodstock? Like, really have been there, not just watched the film or the 2009 movie about Woodstock, not just have gone to any of the several million muddy, druggy outdoor festivals that proliferated in Woodstock’s wake, but really been there, man? I’ll never know. The real experience of the 1960s can feel as forever irretrievable as that of the 1860s. But, wow, am I glad for the development of moving pictures and live audio recording in that 100 years.
Not only can we see the throngs of happy hippies making their way across Max and Miriam Yasgur’s dairy farm in the initial few minutes above, but we do not have to smell them! Seriously, the footage leading up to Jimi Hendrix’s Woodstock performance is fun, including a brief glimpse of Jerry Garcia hanging out with the people. But you’re here to see Jimi, so, if you can’t wait, skip to ahead. The crowd certainly waited—waited three days for Hendrix to close the festival Sunday night with his band Gypsy Sun & Rainbows. Then they waited some more, all night, in fact, until Hendrix finally took the stage at 8:00 a.m. that Monday morning, August 18, 1969. I imagine everyone who stayed would say it was well worth it. Part 2 of the video is here.
The performances, as you know, are legendarily blistering and include Hendrix’s famously screaming, feedback-drenched “Star-Spangled Banner.” See it above like you never could if you were knee-deep in mud and standing behind a crowd of thousands in the summer sun. Hear it above in audio from Internet Archive, who also have mp3 and ogg vorbis versions of each song for free download. And hear a radio documentary about that performance below. Enjoy!
‘Electric Church’: The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live in Stockholm, 1969
Jimi Hendrix’s Final Interview on September 11, 1970: Listen to the Complete Audio
Jimi Hendrix Unplugged: Two Rare Recordings of Hendrix Playing Acoustic Guitar
Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness
This is what it was like for me:
Thank you so much for sharing this…I was too young to take part…and “this is what is was like for me” just awesome…I go to Bethel to many of the concerts that are there now…but your experience was just amazing <3
Well I can relate to all of Woodstock that was my time in 69 I was 18 and I wanted. To be there but I miss that good time of my life and every time I watch that film I can kick myself in my ass
I can relate to that concertI was 18 and 1969 miss the best show in my life
Thank you very much. This is awesome!
I was there… I hitched with 2 buddies from DC and got there Thursday night and the first of many rains, left my soaking sleeping bag in the parking lot and walked in from Bethel Friday as they were rolling up the chain link fence. I was given the handle of Doctor Free by my good friend who also went and paid… his handle was Doc Pay. Met the friend of a guy who got run over by a tractor who died there and he told me his friend had been eating speed and crashed in his sleeping bag at the edge of a corn field. He handed me the bag of speed and said “no more” and that was no more sleep for me. When Hendrix finally played, and I think it was later than 8 AM, there weren’t many people left, maybe 15,000. 46 years later I still consider myself a hippie and Woodstock was just the beginning of the journey!
I wasn’t there but there was some very good talent.grew up on alot of that music