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One festival-goer honored Woodstock '69 by covering his car in anti-war slogans about peace and love. The festival was originally marketed as "An Aquarian Experience: 3 Days of Peace and Music."Three Lions/Getty Images
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Roads leading to Woodstock '69 were backed up with vehicle and foot traffic. If cars and buses had room, they invited fellow festival-goers to hitch a ride. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
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Between sets, music fans skinny dipped at nearby docks during Woodstock. Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Bob Dylan was a mainstay at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. But in 1965, when he decided to play his first-ever set on electric guitar, he got a mixed reception from the crowd. It was also the first time he played "Like a Rolling Stone" in public.Alice Ochs/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Bluesman Lightnin' Hopkins performs at the Newport Folk Festival on July 24, 1965. Julie Snow/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Two years before Woodstock '69, there was the Monterey Pop Festival, a three-day concert event in Monterey, California. It's where Janis Joplin gave her first large-scale public performance, with Big Brother and the Holding Company.Ted Streshinsky/Corbis via Getty Images
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Jimi Hendrix performed on the final night on the Monterey Pop Festival.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Here, Hendrix plays his guitar with a pick between his teeth.Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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It wasn't just the stage that was star-studded at the Monterey Pop Festival — so was the crowd. Here, Nico and the Rolling Stones's Brian Jones watch the performances.Fotos International/Getty Images
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A kid clearly amazed at all the talent onstage at the Monterey Pop Festival.Bob Buchanan/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Iconic sitarist Ravi Shankar played a set on the Monterey Pop Festival's final day, sitting cross-legged onstage.Ted Streshinsky/Corbis via Getty Images
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A drummer and flutist jam out together in the crowd during the 1969 Woodstock festival. Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Attendees of the original Woodstock festival climbed a nearby sound tower in order to get a better view of the performances. Three Lions/Getty Images
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Journalists worked tirelessly among the chaos of the festival in order to finish their stories about the famous concerts that took place between August 15 and August 18, 1969. John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Martin Scorsese attended the festival as an assistant director for the 1970 documentary, "Woodstock." Here, he's wearing a cowboy hat and giving a peace sign to Max Yasgur, who owned the land where the festival took place. Elliott Landy/Redferns/Getty Images
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Festival-goers lounge together on top of cars and buses. Many of the vehicles had been painted with hippie symbols and images. John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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A group of Woodstock attendees swim naked together during the festival. Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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Indian religious teacher and guru Sri Swami Satchidananda opened the festival with the words: "My Beloved Brothers and Sisters: I am overwhelmed with joy to see the entire youth of America gathered here in the name of the fine art of music."Wikimedia Commons
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A crowd of festival-goers gather to peacefully enjoy the "Free Stage," which acted as an open mic stage for anyone who wanted to perform. Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images
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Three men share a group hug during Woodstock. In the face of the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement, the theme of the festival was "Make Love, Not War."Ralph Ackerman/Getty Images
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Max and Miriam Yasgur pose with their land in Bethel, New York, which they offered up as the location for Woodstock when no other venue would. Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images
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Two young men hitch a ride home from Woodstock in the boot of a car. Three Lions/Getty Images
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A naked man climbs the barrier of Woodstock as people look on and film. Archive Photos/Getty Images
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The U.K.'s version of Woodstock, the Isle of Wight Festival, attracted likeminded hippies from across the pond in 1968, 1969, and 1970.David Hurn/Magnum Photos
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Many Isle of Wight festival-goers took to the cliffs to get a better view of the festivities in 1969. This was the year that Bob Dylan skipped Woodstock in order to headline at this U.K. festival. David Hurn/Magnum Photos
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Here, two men are shown dancing side by side in the crowd of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival. Like Woodstock, the Isle of Wight had themes of peace and love.
David Hurn/Magnum Photos
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Held on the Isle of Wight, the festival drew hundreds of thousands of people each year. By its final year, it was estimated that as many as 600,000 music fans attended. David Hurn/Magnum Photos
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In 1969, The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey arrives on the Isle of Wight via helicopter to play his set.Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
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Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones performs during the Altamont Speedway Free Festival in California on Dec. 6, 1969. The stage was so low to the ground, most of the crowd couldn't see it. There was nothing separating the musicians from the audience but a thin rope.Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Altamont Speedway for a free day of music. Four of them died.Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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Thousands of rock fans watch as a hot-air balloon rises above Altamont Speedway. The balloon was being used by enterprising photographers to take pictures of the scene, as the crowd created a super traffic jam that had traffic backed up over miles.Bettmann/Getty Images
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The drink of choice at the Altamont Speedway was wine, which was consumed in abundance along with various drugs. Bettmann/Getty Images
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Festival-goers parked their cars at random places near Altamont Speedway, with many of them running out of gas on their way to the concert. Michelle VIGNES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
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Santana was one of many popular rock bands who performed at the concert. Also present were the Rolling Stones, who organized the event. Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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A photo taken from the air shows the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the free one-day Altamont Speedway Festival.Bettmann/Getty Images
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Members of the motorcycle group Hell's Angels were recruited by the Rolling Stones to act as security for the Altamont Speedway Free Festival. They were paid with $500 worth of beer. William L. Rukeyser/Getty Images
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Because of the disastrous security from Hell's Angels, pictured here, the Altamont Speedway Free Concert became known as the death of the '60s. Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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As they drank their wages throughout the day, Hell's Angels quickly became violent, attacking festival-goers at the Altamont Speedway with everything from pool cues to knives. John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbs via Getty Images
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Freddie Mercury of Queen performs his most iconic show at the Live Aid festival at London's Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985. Phil Dent/Redferns/Getty Images
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Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen perform at Live Aid in 1985.Pete Still/Redferns/Getty Images
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Singer Sade performing onstage at Live Aid, which raised funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine.Brendan Monks/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
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David Bowie attended Live Aid at Wembley Stadium. Staff/Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
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Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction launched Lollapalooza in 1991 as a farewell tour for his band. Since then, it's become a perennial favorite for alternative rock fans.Steve Eichner/WireImage/Getty Images
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Trent Reznor performing with Nine Inch Nails at Lollapalooza in Waterloo, New Jersey on August 14, 1991.Ebet Roberts/Getty Images
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Corey Glover and Vernon Reid of Living Colour during Lollapalooza 1991 in Stanhope, New Jersey.Steve Eichner/WireImage/Getty Images
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Fred Durst from the band Limp Bizkit performing onstage at Woodstock's 30th anniversary festival, which took place between July 23 and July 25, 1999. Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
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A woman flashing the crowd during Woodstock '99, which took place at
Griffiss AFB Park in Rome, New York. Henry Diltz/Corbis via Getty Images
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More than 100 bands performed at the anniversary festival, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, whose bassist, Flea, performed in the nude. Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
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During his set, Kid Rock encouraged the crowd to throw plastic bottles in the air — but "nothing that can hurt each other." People definitely got hurt.KMazur/WireImage
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A group of festival-goers pose together covered in mud. Large mud pits began appearing by the second day of the festival after attendees destroyed water fountains. Henry Diltz/Corbis via Getty Images
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The mud during Woodstock '99 may have helped festival-goers with the extreme heat of the weekend, which reached nearly 100 degrees each day. David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
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It is believed that over 300,000 people attended the Altamont Speedway Free Concert. The racetrack's bleachers couldn't accomodate all of the festival-goers, leaving people to sit wherever they found room. William L. Rukeyser/Getty Images
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Limp Bizkit's infamous set quickly sparked a riot. Festival employees were told to seek safety backstage, and many fans needed medical attention due to violent mosh pits and sexual assaults in the crowd. Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect
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Although Woodstock '99 shared its named with the famous festival from 1969, it was vastly different from the original celebration of peace and love, ending instead with violence and destruction. Andrew Lichtenstein/Sygma via Getty Images
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On July 26, the morning after Woodstock '99 finally ended, local officials had to clean up after the riots. There were millions of dollars worth of damages from the destruction. David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
Naked Hippies And Raging Fires: 55 Crazy Photos From History’s Most Iconic Music Festivals
For every generation, there is the music that defines it. Likewise, every generation has its era-defining music festival.
But what happens when you bring thousands of young people together to camp, drink, and jam to their favorite bands for an entire weekend? Well, chaos ensues. Regardless of whether that chaos is good, bad, or ugly, one thing is for sure: It's always memorable.
As far as memorable music festivals go, these have to be the top three:
Elliott Landy/Magnum PhotosA group of Woodstock '69 festival-goers meditate at their campsite in Bethel, New York.
More than 50 years ago, perhaps the most famous festival of our time was known simply as, "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music." Now, the Woodstock Music Festival is remembered as a symbol of hippie counterculture, which was founded on the basic beliefs of peace, love, and – of course – rock n' roll.
In order to celebrate this movement, the 1969 Woodstock festival was organized by four young entrepreneurs who had no previous experience with large festivals. Once Creedence Clearwater Revival hopped on board, almost every other important artist from the time agreed to make an appearance, from Jimi Hendrix to Janis Joplin.
The location was generously supplied by dairy farmer Max Yasgur, and Woodstock was scheduled to begin on Aug. 15, 1969, in Bethel, New York.
Days before the festival began, hundreds of thousands of music fans started their journeys to the small town. The roads leading to the dairy farm became so backed up with traffic that festival-goers began to abandon their cars and walk the rest of the way.
More than 400,000 people flowed into the festival — many more than what was planned, leading organizers to abandon their ticket stands and make Woodstock a free festival.
Once the festival began, the counterculture attendees maintained their mantra: "Make love, not war." Despite rain and mud, festival-goers were happy, harmonious, and, in many cases, high. Many of them spent the four days nude, bathing in nearby streams or making love whenever and wherever.
So many people came that there wasn't enough food or supplies to go around, but volunteer nurses and farmers came in to offer help. By the end of the festival, there were no reported incidents of violence. (Two people died, one of a drug overdose and the other because he was sleeping under a tractor and the tractor driver accidentally ran him over.)
As one 15-year-old festival-goer said, "I was raised not to trust people and to be wary of strangers, and here were 500,000 of them who were being so nice and so happy and just listening to the music and sitting in the mud. It really gave me a different perspective of humanity."
Altamont Speedway Free Concert
California bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead loved playing at Woodstock so much, they decided to organize their own West Coast version.
They got the Rolling Stones — one of the most popular bands in the world — to headline. The Stones rarely played in the U.S., but now they'd be playing a massive show for free.
The Rolling Stones perform at the Altamont Speedway Free Concert. Dec. 6, 1969.
The venue changed multiple times. First it was Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, but at the last minute it was changed to the Altamont Speedway 45 miles east of the city, a desolate, treeless expanse right off of a freeway.
Construction at the venue didn't begin until December 4. The stage was too low for most attendees to see and only a thin rope separated it from the crowd.
Like Woodstock, the music event didn't enforce an entry price, which resulted in almost half a million music fans making their way to the raceway. Five bands performed; on top of Jefferson Airplane and the Stones were Santana, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.
The Grateful Dead backed out at the last minute — after they heard how violent it was getting.
The motorcycle gang Hell's Angels were hired as security guards. They were paid with $500 worth of beer, which they eagerly drank while on duty, on top of consuming a host of psychedelics.
As can only be expected, instead of protecting the acts and the audience, these drunk bikers quickly became a menace, stabbing festival-goers and musicians alike. Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin was knocked unconscious by a biker, and Stephen Stills was stabbed with a bicycle spoke.
Rolling Stone/Dixie-WardMeredith Hunter was just 18 years old when he was killed by a group of Hell's Angels during the Rolling Stones' set at the Altamont Speedway Free Concert.
As rock writer Joel Selvin later said, "I think there was a mass toxic psychosis going on there. In sort of street parlance, you know, everybody was on a bad trip. It was not a groovy vibration. It was a bad trip."
Everything came to a fatal climax when the Rolling Stones took the stage. As they played their set, an 18-year-old black man named Meredith Hunter was attacked and chased by a group of Hell's Angels.
As a last resort, the young man pulled out a gun, and this is when an Angel named Alan Passaro stabbed him twice, killing him.
Hunter was one of four people killed during the Altamont Speedway Free Concert, bringing a brutal end to the Summer of Love.
The organizers of Woodstock '99 had intended to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the famous music festival of peace and love. However, this pricey, sweltering, and chaotic festival quickly became known as not only the anti-Woodstock, but also "the day the 90s died."
Andrew Lichtenstein/Getty ImagesTwo Woodstock '99 festival-goers wrestle on the ground amidst hundreds of discarded plastic water bottles.
From July 22 to July 25, 1999, as many as 400,000 rock fans from across the nation flocked to the Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York in search of a weekend of good times and good music. What they found instead was a burning hot tarmac and a lack of water.
Single-use plastic water bottles were being sold for an extortionate $4 each (on top of the $157 price of entry) and free fountains were quickly smashed out of frustration. This led to mud pits, which eventually became indistinguishable from the overflowing porta potties.
Temperatures inched closer to 100 degrees and, with nowhere to turn except the sun-soaked concrete, hundreds of festival-goers became ill due to heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Under these conditions, it wasn't long before mayhem ensued. Kid Rock kickstarted the first acts of aggression by asking the crowd to throw their plastic water bottles in the air, knocking people square in the head.
Mosh pits during the sets of Korn and Limp Bizkit resulted in physical injuries and multiple rapes.
As festival volunteer David Schneider later said, "At one point I saw this girl, a very petite girl, maybe 100 pounds, who was body-surfing above the crowd and either fell in or was pulled into a circle in the mosh pit. These gentlemen, probably in the 25-32 age range, looked as though they were holding her down. They were holding her arms; you could see she was struggling."
The Red Hot Chili Peppers' rendition of 'Fire' inspired concertgoers to light an actual fire, burning the venue down and forcing a mass evacuation. July 25, 1999.
Finally, it was Red Hot Chili Peppers' rendition of Jimi Hendrix's famous "Fire" performance from 30 years earlier that set off full-on riots.
Bonfires were set in the crowds, cars were flipped and lit on fire, and vendor booths were torn apart for fuel. Outnumbered law enforcement had to call for backup, and by the end of the festival, 44 people had been arrested.
There's no question that music festivals have hit stunning highs and devastating lows throughout the years. But whether these shows were good, bad, or just plain ugly, they all have an unforgettable place in music history.