Forty-four years ago, roads were jammed. Scheduled performers couldn’t get in. The enormous crowd grew impatient. None of the acts who had made it wanted to go on stage, but organizers finally talked Richie Havens into open the festival. He performed a nine song set, the final being his famous Freedom which he improvised on stage.
Next up was Country Joe McDonald, who was scheduled to perform much later with his group Country Joe and the Fish. With a borrowed acoustic guitar around his neck with a rope, he followed Richie Havens.
Day one was scheduled to feature mostly folk singers. In spite of the late start, it’s perhaps remembered the most. Also performing was Sweetwater, Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, Ravi Shankar, Melanie, a very young Arlo Guthrie and a very pregnant Joan Baez.
Where were you August 15, 1969?