Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock (1969)

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!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

‘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

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Comments (7)
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  • Lisa says:

    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

  • Richard oyler says:

    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

  • Richard oyler says:

    I can relate to that con­cer­tI was 18 and 1969 miss the best show in my life

  • Joep van de Velde says:

    Thank you very much. This is awe­some!

  • Matt Wolohan says:

    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!

  • jeff says:

    I was­n’t there but there was some very good talent.grew up on alot of that music

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