How Jimi Hendrix and Neil Young got to Woodstock 1969
Woodstock 1969 The year was a landmark event in the history of classic rock. The event was a springboard to fame for many now iconic, but then fledgling stars. Despite the grim surroundings, mud and lack of basic amenities, Woodstock was a lucky ticket for a number of musicians, as well as a resounding end of an era "The Summer of Love.".
One of the most memorable performances at Woodstock 1969 rightfully belongs to Jimi Hendrixbut at that festival, the one that stood out. Neil Young. But how did these two get to the arena, and what did they go through before they performed in front of the hippie crowd that forever inscribed their names in 60s music history?
The backstory: the end of "Summer of Love" and chaos
The 1969 Woodstock Rock Festival, officially known as the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, was both a disaster and one of the defining moments of the decade, and it says a lot about the nature of the American counterculture of the 1960s. As Jimi Hendrix biographer Jimi Hendrix notes, Charles CrossThe festival, organised by a young and enthusiastic group of amateurs, soon turned into chaos with hundreds of thousands of agitated hippies and incessant bad weather putting pressure on the already almost non-existent security and infrastructure. And the abundance of illegal substances, which in those years were almost openly available, led to countless cases of young people needing medical attention... All in all, the atmosphere was extremely peculiar and rather strained.
Despite being billed as a three-day event, Woodstock was so chaotic that the weekend's festivities devolved into the following Monday morning, with many young Americans reduced to a small crowd that slept in the dirt and drank all day while enjoying rock 'n' roll acts. Those who endured were honoured to witness two of the most historic performances of all time: the set of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. and a closing number performed Jimi Hendrix and the latest incarnation of his band... But what did Hendrix and Neil Young go through to take the stage at Woodstock?
A rough road to Woodstock, full of adventure
Although both Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix are now considered leading figures of the 1960s counterculture, the two musicians were going through a tumultuous time creatively at the time, despite being recognised as the best at the Woodstock Rock Festival. Young was making a furore as a talented solo performer, but by the time Woodstock came around, he had officially joined the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. - or rather, became part of what was simply called Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Hendrix was also in constant creative flux. After two and a half years of touring with bassist Noel Redding and the drummer Mitcham Mitchellas well as recording three classic albums as a The Jimi Hendrix Experiencethe band broke up. This was due to Redding's sudden departure from the line-up.....
Thus, amidst the turmoil of trying to find common ground with new musicians, both Hendrix and Young encountered difficulties in their attempts to get to Woodstock. They were stuck at a nearby airport, where they were given to understand that due to bad weather they would not be able to fly to the festival as they had planned in advance. But a way out of the situation was quickly found! The musicians travelled to the concert in a pick-up truckwho, according to some rumours, hijacked! According to Young, Hendrix was riding on the bonnet. The musician once said:
"Stealing a pickup truck with Jimi Hendrix was one of the best moments of my life."
Believe it or not - you decide for yourself!
In conclusion: the moment of truth at Woodstock
By the time they arrived at the legendary festival, both musicians had already spent hours battling chaos, delays and stereotypical hippie jokes. And while both faced challenges beyond their control, Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix. had the perseverance and talent to take the famous festival to its logical conclusion. Young took the stage with the newly formed band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and delivered a great number!
Although, as some journalists have pointed out, the musician was disappointed with the festival. He was upset that the other performers seemed to be playing for the cameras rather than the crowd, and even refused to be filmed in protest. Nevertheless, he was there and honourably completed his brilliant set, although he later described Woodstock as a "bloody concert" (not in a good way).
Shortly thereafter, Hendrix took the stage where, after he and his band were introduced as The Jimi Hendrix Experience, the legendary guitarist stepped up to the microphone and corrected the host, christening the band "Gypsy, Sun, and Rainbows," and later on "Band of Gypsys", the name under which Hendrix's last music would be recorded before his untimely death the following year... The show was shabby. Hendrix struggled to find a rhythm with his new group of musicians. Still, he had a trump card up his sleeve: his iconic rendition of the the national anthem of the United Stateswhich is now remembered as Woodstock's most famous piece.