However, attendance figures far exceeded expectations, and on August 15, 1969 over a million eager music enthusiasts descended on the site. In the end, 500,000 people made it into the festival – making it one of the largest rock concerts of that time.
“You couldn’t really wrap your mind around how many people were there,” performer David Cosby recalled in an 2004 interview with Rolling Stone magazine. “It had never happened before, and it was sort of like having aliens land.”
Crowds were so massive that roads had to be closed owing to the sheer amount of traffic, and New York state officials considered calling in the National Guard. The limited number of ticket booths couldn’t handle the throng of festival goers, and organizers soon announced that Woodstock was a free event.