Woodstock 45th Anniversary: Eight Artists Who Turned Down The Fest
This article has been updated from an earlier post.
On this day in music history, one of the biggest music events kicked off three days of peace, music and love fest in the middle of a farm field in Bethel, New York. The Woodstock Music & Art Fair kicked off on August 15, 1969 and would later become a defining moment of the ’60s.
Dozens of the biggest music acts of the time took the stage in front of thousands, including The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jimi Hendrix just at the tip of the iceberg. It’s easy to remember all the acts who did perform, but what about the artists who passed up on what’s considered one of the most pivotal events in music history?
At the time, no one knew how big and influential Woodstock would become, especially the artists who eventually declined the invite to perform at the festival.
In hindsight, we can only imagine that these artists would reconsider that decision if they could go back in time. After all, who wouldn’t want to be part of the greatest music festival in history?
Take a look back at some of the artists who turned down the invite to perform at Woodstock either due to scheduling conflicts, breakups or even the mistake of just not thinking the festival was worth the time.
Artists who declined invites for Woodstock:
Bob Dylan: Even though the fest was right in his backyard, Bob Dylan turned down the offer to perform opting to play the Isle of Wright Festival two weeks later.
The Beatles/John Lennon: Promoters contacted John Lennon to ask The Beatles to perform, but he said the group wouldn’t play unless Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band was also on the bill. Promoters then turned him down.
Jeff Beck Group: Guitarist Jeff Beck deliberately broke up the group right before the festival because he “didn’t want it to be preserved.”
The Doors: The Doors later regretted their decision to cancel last minute to perform at Woodstock.
Led Zeppelin: Manager Peter Grant turned down the offer because the group would be “just another band on the bill.”
The Byrds: Tired of the festival scene, the group thought Woodstock would be the same as any other summer festival.
Joni Mitchell: Originally scheduled to perform, Joni’s agent booked her to appear on The Dick Cavett Show instead.
The Moody Blues: The appeared on the original Wallkill poster as performers, but had to cancel due to a booking in Paris the same weekend.