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As Woodstock Turns 50, the Fest’s 10 Most Sacred Music Moments (Watch)

Cars were left abandoned along the New York Interstate. Electrical and speaker systems fuzzed and popped. Amps blew then went silent. The rain was endless as the mud sank deep and rank. Young children ran naked and dazed through crowds of strangers. Food was scarce. Water, unclean.

Looking back, Woodstock seems a more apocalyptic, than utopian, vision. But somehow the legacy of the 1969 festival, held this weekend 50 years ago, emerged unscathed, entering the annals of history as an event on par with glimpsing God. This is in large part due to the music itself — unparalleled performances by artists who were not only introducing a new sound, but also revolutionizing the very experience of live music. Woodstock was the first true mega-concert, a sensory explosion for performer and listener alike.

Few artists, before or since, have performed to a crowd that large — estimated at half a million strong. And while most in the audience could barely hear what was happening on stage, the performances live on in recordings. Watch 10 of Woodstock’s most sacred musical moments below…

Joan Baez
Though in many ways Baez has been relegated to the status of sweet-voiced folk icon, in reality, her swagger pre-dates the spit-in-your face fury of punk rock. Baez not only introduced the world to Bob Dylan, she held her own on stage with him and countless other male talents of the day, eyeing them across the microphone with an audacity that felt like a challenge. At Woodstock, her gutsy authority is on full display. Six months pregnant, she steps defiantly in front of the crowd, completely alone save an acoustic guitar, performing much of her set a capella, armed only with her voice and unwavering grit.

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