Woodstock: How It Began

The song Woodstock was written by someone who wasn’t even there!

First, some background.

The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held August 15, 16 and 17 (due to inclement weather the festival was extended to August 18th) on the 600-acre farm of Max Yasgur in Bethel, New York.

Thirty-two acts performed at the festival. Ticket prices were $18 in advance and $24 at the gate for all three days. Attendance numbers vary between 200,000 and 400,000, most of whom did not pay to get in.

The name Woodstock has always had an earthy, hippie, back-to-nature feel to it. But in fact, the name Woodstock was all about money. The reason the event was called ‘Woodstock’ was because an investment company known as Woodstock Ventures put up the money to put the show on.

The song Woodstock became a huge hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But CSN&Y didn’t write the song. Graham Nash’s then-girlfriend Joni Mitchell did.

Mitchell did not perform at Woodstock because her manager told her it would be more advantageous to her career to appear on The Dick Cavett Show instead.

Mitchell’s inspiration for the song came from what she heard from Nash about Woodstock and from televised news reports about the festival that she watched from her hotel room in New York City.

The band Matthews Southern Comfort whose leader was Ian Matthews of Fairport Convention fame did a cover of the song.


I came upon a child of God

He was walking along the road

And I asked him, where are you going

And this he told me

I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm

I’m going to join in a rock ’n’ roll band

I’m going to camp out on the land

I’m going to try an’ get my soul free

We are stardust

We are golden

And we’ve got to get ourselves

Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you

I have come here to lose the smog

And I feel to be a cog in something turning

Well maybe it is just the time of year

Or maybe it’s the time of man

I don’t know who l am

But you know life is for learning

We are stardust

We are golden

And we’ve got to get ourselves

Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock

We were half a million strong

And everywhere there was song and celebration

And I dreamed I saw the bombers

Riding shotgun in the sky

And they were turning into butterflies

Above our nation

We are stardust

Billion year old carbon

We are golden

Caught in the devil’s bargain

And we’ve got to get ourselves

Back to the garden

Songwriters: MITCHELL, JONI

Woodstock lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Woodstock 1969 Lineup

Day One: Friday, August 15, 1969

Richie Havens

1. Minstrel From Gault

2. High Flyin’ Bird

3. I Can’t Make It Anymore

4. With A Little Help

5. Strawberry Fields For Ever

6. Hey Jude

7. I Had A Woman

8. Handsome Johnny

9. Freedom


1. Motherless Child

2. Look Out

3. For Pete’s Sake

4. Day Song

5. What’s Wrong

6. Crystal Spider

7. Two Worlds

8. Why Oh Why

Bert Sommer

1. Jennifer

2. The Road To Travel

3. I wondered where you’d be

4. She’s Gone

5. Things Are Going My Way

6. And When It’s Over

7. Jeanette

8. America (first standing ovation at Woodstock)

9. A Note That Read

10. Smile

Tim Hardin

1. Misty Roses

2. If I Were A Carpenter

Ravi Shankar

1. Raga Puriya-Dhanashri / Gat In Sawarital

2. Tabla Solo In Jhaptal

3. Raga Manj Kmahaj / Alap Jor / Dhun In Kaharwa Tal / Medium & Fast Gat In Teental


1. Beautiful People

2. Birthday Of The Sun

Arlo Guthrie

1. Coming Into Los Angeles

2. Walking Down The Line

3. Amazing Grace

Joan Baez

1. Joe Hill

2. Sweet Sir Galahad

3. Drug Store Truck Driving Man

4. Swing Low Sweet Chariot

5. We Shall Overcome

Day Two: Saturday, August 16, 1969


1. They Live the Life

2. That’s How I Eat

3. Driftin’

4. Waitin’ For You

Country Joe McDonald

1. I Find Myself Missing You

2. Rockin’ All Around The World

3. Flyin’ High All Over The World

4. Seen A Rocket

5. Fish Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-To-Die-Rag

John B. Sebastian

1. How Have You Been

2. Rainbows All Over Your Blues

3. I Had A Dream

4. Darlin’ Be Home Soon

5. Younger Generation

Keef Hartley Band

1. Believe In You

2. Rock Me Baby

3. Leavin’ Trunk/Halfbreed/Just To Cry/And Sinnin’ For You


1. Persuasion

2. Savor

3. Soul Sacrifice

4. Fried Neckbones

Incredible String Band

1. Catty Come

2. This Moment Is Different

3. When You Find Out Who You Are

Canned Heat

1. I’m Her Man

2. Going Up the Country

3. A Change Is Gonna Come

4. Leaving This Town

5. The Bear Talks

6. Let’s Work Together

7. Too Many Drivers at the Wheel

8. I Know My Baby

9. Woodstock Boogie

10. On the Road Again

Grateful Dead

1. St. Stephen

2. Mama Tried

3. Dark Star / High Time

4. Turn On Your Lovelight

Leslie West & Mountain

1. Blood Of The Sun

2. Stormy Monday

3. Theme From An Imaginary Western

4. Long Red

5. For Yasgur’s Farm

6. You And Me

7. Waiting To Take You Away

8. Dreams Of Milk And Honey

9. Blind Man

10. Blue Suede Shoes

11. Southbound Train

Creedence Clearwater Revival

1. Born On The Bayou

2. Green River

3. Ninety-Nine And A Half

4. Commotion

5. Bootleg

6. Bad Moon Rising

7. Proud Mary

8. I Put A Spell On You

9. Night Time Is The Right Time

10. Keep On Choogin’

11. Suzy Q

Janis Joplin

1. Raise Your Hand

2. As Good As You’ve Been To This World

3. To Love Somebody

4. Summertime

5. Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)

6. Kosmic Blues

7. Can’t Turn You Loose

8. Work Me Lord

9. Piece Of My Heart

10. Ball and Chain

Sly & The Family Stone

1. M’Lady

2. Sing A Simple Song

3. You Can Make It If You Try

4. Stand!

5. Love City

6. Dance To The Music

7. Music Lover

8. I Want To Take You Higher

The Who

1. Heaven And Hell

2. I Can’t Explain

3. It’s A Boy

4. 1921

5. Amazing Journey

6. Sparks

7. Eyesight To The Blind

8. Cristmas

9. Tommie Can You Hear Me

10. Acid Queen

11. Pinball Wizard

12. Abbie Hoffmann Incident

13. Fiddle About

14. There’s A Doctor I’ve Found

15. Go To The Mirror Boy

16. Smash The Mirror

17. I’m Free

18. Tommy’s Holiday Camp

19. We’re Not Gonna Take It

20. See Me Feel Me

21. Summertime Blues

22. Shakin’ All Over

23. My Generation

24. Naked Eye

Jefferson Airplane

1. The Other Side Of This Life

2. Plastic Fantastic Lover

3. Volunteers

4. Saturday Afternoon / Won’t You Try

5. Eskimo Blue Day

6. Uncle Sam’s Blues

7. Somebody To Love

8. White Rabbit

Day Three: Sunday, August 17. 1969

Joe Cocker

1. Delta Lady

2. Some Things Goin’ On

3. Let’s Go Get Stoned

4. I Shall Be Released

5. With A Little Help From My Friends

Country Joe & The Fish

1. Barry’s Caviar Dream

2. Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine

3. Rock And Soul Music

4. Thing Called Love

5. Love Machine

6. Fish Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixing-To-Die-Rag

Ten Years After

1. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

2. I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes

3. I May Be Wrong, But I Won’t Be Wrong Always

4. I’m Going Home

The Band

1. Chest Fever

2. Don’t Do It

3. Tears Of Rage

4. We Can Talk About It Now

5. Long Black Veil

6. Don’t Ya Tell Henry

7. Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos

8. Wheels On Fire

9. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever

10. The Weight

Johnny Winter

1. Mama, Talk To Your Daughter

2. Leland Mississippi blues

3. Mean Town Blues

4. You’ve Done Lost Your Good Thing Now/Mean Mistreater

5. I Can’t Stand It (with Edgar Winter)

6. Tobacco Road (with Edgar Winter)

7. Tell The Truth (with Edgar Winter)

8. Johnny B. Goode

Blood, Sweat and Tears

1. More and More

2. Just One Smile

3. Something Coming On

4. More Than You’ll Ever Know

5. Spinning Wheel

6. Sometimes in Winter

7. Smiling Phases

8. God Bless The Child

9. I Stand Accused

10. And When I Die

11. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

1. Suite Judy Blue Eyes

2. Blackbird

3. Helplessly Hoping

4. Guinnevere

5. Marrakesh Express

6. 4 + 20

7. Mr Soul

8. Wonderin’

9. You Don’t Have To Cry

10. Pre-Road Downs

11. Long Time Gone

12. Bluebird Revisited

13. Sea Of Madness

14. Wooden Ships

15. Find The Cost Of Freedom

16. 49 Bye-Byes

Day Four: Monday, August 18. 1969

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

1. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

2. Driftin’

3. Born Under A Bad Sign

4. All My Love Comin’ Through To You

5. Love March

Sha Na Na

1. Na Na Theme

2. Jakety Jak

3. Teen Angel

4. Jailhouse Rock

5. Wipe Out

6. Who Wrote The Book Of Love

7. Duke Of Earl

8. At The Hop

9. Na Na Theme

Jimi Hendrix

1. Message To Love

2. Getting My Heart Back Together Again

3. Spanish Castle Magic

4. Red House

5. Master Mind

6. Here Comes Your Lover Man

7. Foxy Lady

8. Beginning

9. Izabella

10. Gypsy Woman

11. Fire

12. Voodoo Child (Slight Return) / Stepping Stone

13. Star Spangled Banner

14. Purple Haze

15. Woodstock Improvisation / Villanova Junction

16. Hey Joe

Courtesy: DigitalDreamDoor.com




Tom Zalaski is a television news anchorman, speaker, emcee, author, grandpa, guitar player and #1 fan of Leslie West and Mountain.

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Tom Zalaski

Tom Zalaski

Tom Zalaski is a television news anchorman, speaker, emcee, author, grandpa, guitar player and #1 fan of Leslie West and Mountain.

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