I grew up with music constantly playing in the house. My parents, born in the mid-to-late 1950’s, brought me up on all kinds of music. Their tastes strongly aligned with many of the acts that played Woodstock 1969. Family legend says that my dad had a ticket to the festival — he lived outside New York City at the time — but chose not to go.
Regardless, someone has come up with a (supposed) list of what each act was paid to perform that year. I find it absolutely fascinating. I’ve recreated the chart I found on Ultimate Guitar below, with computed 2015 dollars thanks to Wolfram Alpha.
|#||Artist||1969 Dollars||2015 Dollars|
|2||Blood, Sweat and Tears||$15,000||$98,430|
|3||Creedence Clearwater Revival||$10,000||$65,620|
|8||Sly and the Family Stone||$7,000||$45,930|
|12||Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young||$5,000||$32,810|
|16||Ten Years After||$3,250||$21,330|
|17||Country Joe and the Fish||$2,500||$16,400|
|17||The Grateful Dead||$2,500||$16,400|
|19||The Incredible String Band||$2,250||$14,760|
|24||John B. Sebastian||$1,000||$6,561|
|27||Sha Na Na||$700||$4,593|
It’s not clear to me where nor how these numbers were discovered, but they’re a fun thing to think about either way.
What stuns me the most, other than the ordering, is how little money each of these artists made. With some much-derided bands absolutely cleaning up on tours, to see such legendary artists make so little money is shocking. Granted, this was one show and not a whole tour; nevertheless, much has changed in the last 45 years.
Speaking of how things have changed, we’ve covered Woodstock 1999 before. As much as I love the artists that I grew up with, I can’t argue that Woodstock 1969 was something special.