My favorite snub of Woodstock was by one of the top female singer/songwriters of the sixties, Joni Mitchell, who skipped Woodstock to appear on the Dick Cavett Show. She went on to write the classic song Woodstock, made famous by Crosby, Stills Nash and Young.
CSN&Y almost didn’t make Woodstock. The helicopter that Graham Nash and the group’s bassist, Greg Reeves was 25 feet off the ground when the tail rotor failed. The helicopter began to spin and the hard landing was almost a crash. They were nearly killed when the helicopter missed some high tension power lines and was forced to make a hard landing.
The Who almost refused to perform. The group was facing financial troubles and only agreed to go on when festival organizers paid them in cash.
Jethro Tull was invited to perform at Woodstock. However, lead singer Ian Anderson didn’t want to perform in front of, as he termed them, “a bunch of unwashed hippies”.
Procol Harum was invited to play the festival, but they refused citing two reasons. The first was that they were at the end of a long tour and the other was that Robin Trower’s wife was about to give birth to her first child back in England.
The Byrds were invited but they refused citing their distaste for large festivals following a violent incident at the Atlanta Pop Festival a month earlier.
My favorite sixties group, The Mamas and the Papas were invited, but John Phillips who was a board member of the Monterey Pop Festival, declined because the festival, unlike Monterey, was a profit-making venture, or was supposed to achieve a profit.
The Moody Blues declined an invitation because the group had already been booked to play a show in Paris at around the same time the festival was to take place. Years later the band admitted that they regretted not accepting the invite.
Tommy James and The Shondells were invited the perform, but declined when told the festival would be on a farm. Later on they regretted not playing the festival.
Paul Revere and the Raiders was invited and turned down the invitation.
The duo of Zager and Evans, who had a huge hit in ’69 with the song “In the Year 2525″, were invited to perform but refused.
Hope you’re enjoying the look back at Woodstock. Goodbye Emily, provides another look back at the special three days in August of 1969. Peter Faur who attended Woodstock said this about the novel, “I was somewhat skeptical about what the novel, Goodbye Emily would turn out to be, but now that I’ve read it, I’m a fan! Michael has really captured the feel of Woodstock – the chaos, the mud, the dope, and the community spirit (OK, the peace and love) that held everything together for the weekend. As I was reading the book, I could visualize everything Michael wrote about, and I easily recalled the shortages of food, shelter and Porta Potties. I remember being caked in mud, much like Michael’s characters. The description of the setting was pitch perfect.”