Minneapolis St. Paul News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | Minneapolis, Minnesota | kare11.com

50 years since Woodstock: How a fundraiser transformed into an iconic (and free) music festival

Fifty years ago, the iconic music festival Woodstock rocked (literally) a dairy farm in rural New York.

WOODSTOCK, N.Y. — Fifty years ago, the iconic music festival Woodstock rocked a dairy farm in rural New York. 

Despite the name, the location of the festival wasn’t anywhere near the town of Woodstock, New York. It was hosted on a dairy farm around 40 miles southwest of Woodstock all in a last-ditch effort to save the concert from cancellation.

In early 1969, four aspiring recording professionals wanted to raise money to start a recording studio in their hometown of Woodstock. The idea was to hold the festival near the town, but there were no venues that could accommodate a festival of that size.

Follow This Week in History on YouTube

The nearest spot they found was in Wallkill, a small town in New York around 50 miles away. Just when everything was set for three-day festival, the town killed the concert last minute.

The four organizers scrambled to find a new venue. In July 1969, one of the organizers stumbled on a 600-acre dairy farm outside Bethel. The farm was owned by Max Yasgur. The organizers convinced Yasgur to let them put on the music festival mid-August.

The Yasgur farm was nearly 50 miles outside of Woodstock.

Initially, organizers expected around 50,000 people to attend.

ICYMI | Last week on This Week in History: Should Congress approve reparations? Here's a look at how America tried to make amends before

Within the first day the crowd ballooned to almost half a million people. What started as a paid concert to raise money for their studio, turned into a free festival as hordes of music-lovers descended upon the farm.

In the end, Woodstock became a symbol of the sixties counter-culture. It also became a standard by which all music festivals are judged.

Half a decade later, a concert planned to commemorate the anniversary faced the same problems the first festival did.

RELATED: Howard County officials work to bring 'Woodstock 50' to Maryland

The anniversary festival was supposed to be held on the same farm but the venue could not be secured. A last-minute switch was reported to send it to a music venue in Maryland.

However, the details could never get worked out. There will be no concert to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the legendary festival.

RELATED: Organizers finally cancel troubled Woodstock 50 festival