60 Rarely Seen Photographs Of The Woodstock Music Festival

By Sarah Norman | May 23, 2023

Woodstock was an expensive festival

Woodstock is coming up on its 50th anniversary, and while it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since half a million people grooved in upstate New York, a golden anniversary is a great reason to look back at some nostalgic photos.

From August 15 - 18, 1969 half a million people showed up to dance and groove in the mud while artists like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who jammed for hours on end. Woodstock is remembered as three days of peace, love, and music, but in order to put this monumental festival together a lot of things had to come together. People often wonder about the ins and outs of the festival: How much were the bands paid? How big was the farm? And how much did tickets cost for Woodstock? We’ve got all those answers for you and much more on this rundown of what life was really like for people attending the Woodstock festival in 1969.

What did people eat? Who is the elusive Woodstock baby? And what was it like being stuck in all that traffic? You want to know, we’ve got answers. Rock on! 

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source: reddit

Peace and love aside, Woodstock cost a lot of money to put on. There were the fees for the bands, space, and food as well as the unseen costs of hosting a massive festival in the middle of nowhere. Not only did the organizers incur major fees after moving the festival from Woodstock proper to Wallkill and then to Bethell, but they had to pay for helicopters, limousines, medical supplies – if there was something that cost money you can bet that it was Woodstock.

At the time the organizers were reportedly in $1.3 million worth of debt, and even after the release of the concert film took off like gangbusters the organizers still owed $100,000 to various parties. 

The bands were fairly cheap

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source: pinterest

In an era where artists are pulling down massive paydays for one time performances it’s easy to believe that things have always been that way. Not so, or at least not at Woodstock. In 1969 most of the bands made less than $10,000, and there were five – including Santana – who made less than $1,000. It’s wild to think that something that was so culturally important and based around music got away with paying minor artist fees, but that was the ’60.

The highest paid artist on the roster was Jimi Hendrix, who pulled in $18,000 for shredding during the festival. The lowest paid artist was Quill, who only made #375.