Festivals come and go, but photographs are forever. Some of the most poignant and thought provoking images in music have been documented during our favorite summer gatherings, and inspire future generations of fans, artists and photographers alike.
The year was 1969, and two 20-year-olds arrived halfway through the weekend of a little ole festival you may have heard of, Woodstock. All of the main roads had been closed so this was feat in and of itself. Huddled together under a dirty blanket amidst a sea of mud-covered youth, the photo snapped by Burk Uzzle first earned recognition when it was featured on the cover of Life magazine. It was later used on the cover of the Woodstock album and movie poster. Coined the “undercover lovers,” the image exudes feelings of peace, love and protection, which of course was what Woodstock was all about. The couple, Bobbi and Nick Ercoline, married 2 years after the festival and are still together today. The photo is a testament to a generation that defied turbulent times, and looked for love in all the right places.
Two years earlier, in June of 1967, Jimi Hendrix won over US audiences for the first time when — at the insistence of Paul McCartney— the Jimi Hendrix Experience played the Monterey Pop Festival. Hendrix famously climaxed the performance by smashing and setting his guitar on fire. Iconic rock photographer James Marshall captured the performance, and subsequently this famous shot. Rolling Stone magazine ran the photo on the cover 20 years later, in 1987. Hendrix’s then press officer Tony Garland famously said,
“They said they were going to burn it — so I nipped round the corner to buy some Ronson lighter fuel. It sounds ludicrous — but they were fairly ludicrous days. Things were done on the spur of the moment. We did lots of crazy things back then.”
Sadly, James Marshall passed away last month, but this photo, and thousands of other images he took throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s will live on. But what about you? We’d love to see some of your favorite festivals photos, whether you’re in them, took them, or just think they’re groovy. Send them our way. Who knows, maybe your festival moments could be immortalized within the pages of the OurStage Blog. And we all know the Internet is forever.