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The film records the events of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, held for 3 days near Bethel, New York, in August 1969. It features the participating performers and the reactions of residents of the community and of the 400,000 young people who attended. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's recordings of "Long Time Gone" and "Wooden Ships" are heard as stagehands construct the platform on which the musicians will perform; meanwhile, the audience is seen arriving by the thousands. Festival promoter Mike Lang is interviewed, and rock promoter Bill Graham is seen giving advice on how to control the crowds. The performers appear in the following order: Richie Havens, Joan Baez, The Who, Sha-Na-Na, Joe Cocker, Country Joe & The Fish, Arlo Guthrie, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Ten Years After, John Sebastian, Santana, Sly and the Family Stone, and Jimi Hendrix. Interspersed are interviews with members of the counterculture as well as nearby farmers, merchants, policemen, and other local people, some of whom do not appreciate the permission their neighbor Max Yasgur has given to have the concert on his farm. Other scenes include: a storm that drenches the audience, turning the field into mud; mud-sliding contests after the rain; the smoking of marijuana and use of strong drugs; the expression of anti-Vietnam War sentiment; brief shots of Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia; medical aid and food being supplied by the Army; and the appearance before the audience of farmer Yasgur. The film concludes with a helicopter view of the festival crowd.