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Chip Nelson

WOODSTOCK: 45 Years Ago this Weekend



This weekend marks 45 years since Woodstock took place at Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York.

There were 32 acts performing at the festival, including The Who, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mountain, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Band, Joe Cocker, Ten Years After and Johnny Winter.

Tickets for the three-day festival cost $18 and 186,000 were sold before the weekend with authorities expecting 200,000 people to show up. When more than double than that arrived, the fences eventually came down, which is how it became a free show.

In April 1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival became the first act to sign a contract for the event, agreeing to play for $10,000. Once promoters secured John Fogerty and company, other big acts ended up signing on. Richie Havens opened the festival at 5 p.m. on Friday, August 16th. Jimi Hendrix closed the festival, with the last notes of his guitar ringing out just a little after 11 a.m. on Monday, August 18th.

Santana were a relatively unknown band from San Francisco at the time and were booked as a favor to San Francisco promoter Bill Graham. Their fiery performance on Saturday raised the band's profile considerably. Carlos Santana remembers tripping on mescaline that day and says, "All I could remember is just landing, drinking a lot of water...and just praying to God to keep me in time and in tune.

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