Good morning! What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000. Now, it’s gonna be good food and we’re going to get it to you. It’s not just the Hog Farm, either. It’s everybody. We’re all feedin’ each other. We must be in heaven, man! There’s always a little bit of heaven in a disaster area.
Now there’s a guy up there – some hamburger guy – that had his stand burned down last night. But he’s still got a little stuff left, and for you people that still believe capitalism isn’t that weird, you might help him out and buy a couple hamburgers.Wavy Gravy, as told in Robert Spitz’ Barefoot in Babylon
The Hog Farm then distributed plates of cold mush, while a hippie known as Muskrat, read the front page of the Sunday New York Times to “the hippest brunch this side of Fifth Avenue.”
The first two days of Woodstock had the appearances of a tremendous success, especially for fans and observers. The unsung heroes working the show were dealing with any issue that came to them – rain, mud, delays, making sure food and clean water were available, and keeping the show running.
Sunday though, there were the inevitable issues that arise from a three day music festival. Bathrooms were overflowing, and fans were taking to cornfields and the backyards of locals in Bethel to relieve themselves. There were emergency medical issues that needed to be addressed, but roads were blocked. Helicopters attempted to airlift those in the greatest need, but lack of fuel made it difficult to get them to the proper hospital. A helicopter at Grossinger’s was on site at Yasgur’s within 10 minutes of a call to handle a victim of alcohol poisoning.
Joe Cocker kicked the day off at 2pm with a career-defining performance. Woodstock promoter Artie Kornfeld is reported by Spitz to have ‘humped a motorcycle in time to “Delta Lady,” and wept uncontrollably into his arm.
This is just great! Outta sight! Oh man, look what we’ve done, look what we’ve done. This is foreverArtie Kornfeld, as told in Robert Spitz’ Barefoot in Babylon
But the joy was shortlived. A huge storm barrelled towards the festival grounds, and stage was covered in tarps as Cocker and his band retreated. Having yelled into the microphone for everyone to get away from the towers, John Morris changed his tone and approached the rain differently, saying to the crowd, “If you think really hard enough, maybe we can stop this rain!” A chant of “No rain, No rain, No rain” started in the crowd and built up, to the point where even though the stage itself was sliding in the mud, but fans were dancing in the rain and playing in the mud, the iconic imagery associated with Woodstock still today.
While the storm blew through in 20 minutes, the stage that had slid six inches downhill was restrained so the show could continue. Max Yasgur, the landowner who hosted a few hundred thousand hippies that weekend, was asked by Mel Lawrence and Michael Lang to say a few words to the crowd. Eagerly, Yasgur, who reveled in how nice and police the kids were, took to the stage with encouragement from Lawrence and Lang. Master of Ceremonies Chip Monck introduced Yasgur to the crowd saying “This is the man whose farm we’re on – Mr. Max Yasgur.” Monck stepped back and let Yasgur addressed the crowd, saying:
I’m a farmer. I don’t know how to speak to twenty people at one time let alone a crowd like this. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place, but I think you people have proven something to the world – that a half a million kids can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music. And I god bless you for it!Max Yasgur, as told in Robert Spitz’ Barefoot in Babylon
Music would restart around 5pm with Country Joe & the Fish (the only act to perform twice that weekend) and Ten Years Later followed at 8pm. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young left the stage at 6AM, and Sha Na Na followed. Jimi Hendrix would not take the stage until 8:30AM Monday morning, performing to only 30,000 who were determined to stick it out. The historic “Star Spangled Banner,” followed by “Taps,” would cement his place, and Woodstock’s, in music history.
Watch a performance from the nine artists who performed at Woodstock on August 17 and well into the morning of August 18, 1969