Why wasn't Led Zeppelin shown in Woodstock

50 Years of Woodstock: How Bob Dylan and Co missed the music event of the century

The performances of artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez are unforgettable. But there were also some top bands and artists who missed this milestone in music history for reasons that sometimes seem very meager today:

Bob Dylan

Dylan, meanwhile winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was an icon even then. He missed Woodstock even though he lived not far from the festival grounds north of New York City. It is said that he was so annoyed by constant visits from hippies that he turned it down and traveled to England on that August weekend in 1969.

Another story is rumored in Julien Bitoun's book "50 years: The Story of Woodstock live": According to this, the author of "Like a Rolling Stone" did not appear because his son was ill at the time. Two weeks later, however, Dylan was on stage at a music festival on the Isle of Wight in southern England.

The Beatles

In the late summer of 1969, the Fab Four had just finished the photo shoot for the now legendary album cover "Abbey Road" on a zebra crossing in front of their London studio. However, the band wasn't ready to cross the Atlantic and play their latest hit "Come Together" in Woodstock. Some have blamed John Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono, for the no-show in the past, but Bitoun says the theory is not watertight.

In fact, the Beatles were already about to break up at the time: their last appearance together - as it turned out in retrospect - had already taken place in January 1969 in London. Lennon left the Beatles in September 1969 and the band officially broke up the following year.

The Rolling Stones

The summer of '69 did not go well for the Stones frontman Mick Jagger: he missed the hippie festival that shaped a generation and instead went to Australia to make a film that no one remembers today.

When the organizers wanted to revive the Woodstock magic in Altamont, California months later, the focus was on the Rolling Stones. Unfortunately, however, Hells Angels gang members patrolled there and one festival-goer was killed. For many veterans of the era, this incident marked the end of the "Peace and Love" decade.

Led Zeppelin

The British rock idols preferred the beach to Woodstock slush that summer, and on Woodstock weekend they played to enthusiastic audiences in Ashbury Park on New Jersey's Atlantic coast. Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin's manager at the time, is quoted in the book "Led Zeppelin: the Concert File" as saying, "I said no to Woodstock because there we would have been just one other band on the list."

The Doors

The Doors didn't play at Woodstock "because we were stupid and refused," as guitarist Robby Krieger openly admitted. "We thought it was a second-rate iteration of the Monterey Pop Festival," said Krieger, referring to the 1967 California Music Festival.

Joni Mitchell

The song "Woodstock" was written by the singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, but the Canadian did not play there. She did not compose the ballad that idealizes the festival until 1970. It was originally scheduled for the festival Sunday, but had to cancel because her manager David Geffen had booked her for a TV appearance in New York City on Monday and feared that she would not do it on time would create.