This year marks the 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock Music Festival, which took place August 15-18, 1969 at a farm near Bethel, New York. The festival, billed as three days of peace and music, drew nearly half a million attendees and has become legendary in American history.
Although the Special Media Division doesn’t hold notable records directly related to this event, the Cartographic Branch does hold aerial photography that shows what would eventually become the site of the festival. This aerial image, from June 9, 1942, is found within Record Group (RG) 373, Records of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and shows the rural fields and pastures that would eventually host this legendary event.
Although taken over 20 years before the iconic festival occurred, the area remained rural in 1969. The concert site was located at the crossroads just below the Filippini Pond, near the center of the exposure. The image below has been cropped and edited to show concert stage location and the concert field.
The Cartographic Branch holds millions of aerial photographic prints and negatives covering large areas of the United States and also many foreign areas. We will be featuring blog posts in the near future to provide information about getting started researching and working with aerial photography. In the meantime, please visit the Cartographic Research Room in College Park, Maryland for more information.