They came by car, truck, van, bus, motorcycle, bicycle, on foot, and anyway they could, to attend Woodstock. The little hamlet of Bethel, N.Y., swelled from a population of 3,900 to more than 500,000 for that one weekend in August 1969.
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by Chris M. Junior — In terms of artistic achievements and commercial success, 1969 was a very good year for Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band released three studio albums, scored seven Billboard Hot 100 chart entries and made multiple TV and rock festival appearances — all told, more than most bands achieve in an entire career.
Woodstock was a nightmare for The Grateful Dead. Though Woodstock was not an easy gig for anybody, The Grateful Dead experienced more than their fair share of problems, with dangerous technical problems, a deluge of rain and a stage that seemed on the brink of giving way throughout their show. With this year marking the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, Goldmine asked a number of artists who were there to share their memories of those three days.
Instead of focusing on the performers and their recollections, authors Brad Littleproud and Joanne Hague chose to tell the story of Woodstock as told by the people who were in the crowd or stuck on the road going to Woodstock — though commentary from acts like Ten Years After, Richie Havens, Santana and others is offered, as well. And that’s what sets its apart from the rest.
Saturday morning dawned soggy and gray, and Michael Launder, 17, from Albion, New York, and his friend, Billy, hitched a ride on the trunk of a car covered in people. “There were about eight guys inside and another five or six sitting on the hood and trunk, so we just jumped on,” says Launder. “When we finally reached the festival, it was very surprising to see the state troopers with their ‘Smokey’ hats off, hanging with the rest of us.”
The year was 1968, and artist Dr. Bob Hieronimus was commissioned to paint a mural at Johns Hopkins University. That summer, though, he got a better offer. Bob Grimm, who sang with the group Light, approached Hieronimus about another painting project — namely, Grimm asked him to “turn his tour bus into a ‘magic bus.’”