The Music Sucked at Woodstock

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 14, 2009 7:06 AM CDT

(Newser) – Woodstock become an iconic event of the '60s, but according to Wall Street Journal critic Jim Fusilli, it was a mediocre festival at best. Major artists like Lennon, the Doors, and Led Zeppelin stayed away, those who did show were drugged up, and sound equipment failed—the whole thing was "pretty much a bust."

At Woodstock folk music was overrepresented—even though Dylan himself has already gone electric—while black music was largely absent: no James Brown, no Stevie Wonder, no Aretha Franklin. And the Woodstock albums culled the worst bits, inserted new versions of songs, and even relied on actors in a Hollywood studio to augment the cheering. Listen to the full recordings, Fusilli writes, and you'll have to "plow through the dross to enjoy the few moments of musical magic."

Concert-goers sit on the roof of a Volkswagen bus at the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair at Bethel, N.Y.   (AP Photo)
A young woman in a fringed buckskin top at the Woodstock Music Festival, Bethel, New York, 15th-17th August 1969.   (Getty Images)
Carlos Santana and bassist David Brown perform with the group Santana at the Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, New York.   (Getty Images)
More than 400,000 people attend the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival in Bethel, N.Y.   (AP Photo/File)
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Carlos Santana took a hit of mescaline that kicked in while he was on stage. The Who were unaware their drinks had been dosed with LSD; Roger Daltrey called their set 'the worst performance we ever did.'
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