Forty-nine years ago today, the Woodstock Music & Art Fair opened for “3 Days of Peace & Music.” Festival organizers sold over 100,000 tickets, and roughly half a million people actually showed up. I had BEGGED my parents to let me go with a friend who had a ticket, arguing that, two months’ shy of being 17 years old, I was mature enough to go. Unfortunately, they looked at it as I was only 16 years old, about to enter my senior year of high school, and still a child. I’ve never forgiven them.
Richie Havens was originally scheduled to be the fifth act, but when the first four performers couldn’t reach Yasgur’s farm because of the massive traffic jam, Havens became the first act to perform. He played for nearly three hours, “stalling” to give other musicians time to get there. Toward the end of his performance, he improvised a song that was later called “Freedom.” Enjoy: