Richie Havens Opened Woodstock Festival 48 Years Ago Today

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At around 5 pm on August 15, 1969, Richie Havens stepped onstage at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in White Lake, New York, to kick off the Woodstock Music & Art Fair.

In a special issue in May 2005, Guitar Player selected Woodstock as one of the "101 Greatest Moments in Guitar History," stating: "The legendary Woodstock Music & Art Fair—held August 15, 16, and 17, 1969—had more killer guitar moments than Wavy Gravy had acid trips. Consider proto-shredder Alvin Lee going all pentatonic on 'I’m Going Home,' Carlos Santana’s transcendent 'Soul Sacrifice,' the Who absolutely ruling before Pete Townsend tosses his dead SG Special into the crowd, and Richie Havens’ captivating 'Freedom.' But it’s Jimi Hendrix’s legendary rendition of the 'Star-Spangled Banner' that towers over all the rest as the defining moment—not only of the festival, but, quite possibly, the entire decade."

Let's celebrate that "defining moment" today...