The now legendary Woodstock Music & Art Fair will celebrate its 50th anniversary in August of next year, so PBS has recruited documentary filmmaker extraordinaire Ken Burns to help put together a project to celebrate the famous festival’s impact on American history. Announced by the publicly funded television network earlier this week, Burns will help produce a two-hour documentary on Woodstock in hopes of examining “the events that led up to the three-day festival that would become one of the defining moments of the tumultuous 1960s.”
There weren’t many details given about the upcoming project in the initial announcement, aside from the documentary will be part of the network’s “American Experience” series, and it will be directed by Barak Goodman. The long-running series has covered various stories from the history of the country that have gone on to define its people and culture, ranging from the assassination of President Lincoln to the Oklahoma City bombing back in April of 1995. Burns’ latest mini-series covered another one of the biggest cultural events to shake up the 1960s with the Vietnam War. Released in 2017, the 10-episode documentary series featured a score curated by Nine Inch Nails members Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Woodstock initially took place on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York on August 15–17, 1969. Rain, over-saturation in attendees and iconic performances could be the three main points to summarize what has become one of the most famous popular music events in American history. Artists who performed at the event range from Ravi Shankar and Joan Baez to the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, The Who and of course Jimi Hendrix. The event's mission in bringing folks together in an environment fueled by peace, love and music helped keep some order at an event which was mainly run in unorganized chaos, and took place towards the end of a decade filled with protests around the country’s military involvement in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, the space race and the counterculture youth movement.
The land on which Woodstock took place was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.