TThe Woodstock festival was held in August 1969 and is the most famous rock festival in history. Woodstock attracted more than 400,000 people, as well as all of the top bands of the era. The original location that the event was to be held was in Wallkill, New York, but four weeks before the date, the local zoning board banned the event. Sam Yasgur convinced his father, Max, to allow the event to be held on their 600-acre farm in Bethel, New York. David Byrd had already designed a poster for the Wallkill location, but the abrupt change of venue called for a new poster design. Arnold Skolnick was pressed into action and the result is this — the most famous rock poster there is.
The popularity of this poster has led to countless forgeries and reprints. Suffice it to say that 99 percent of the Woodstock posters on eBay and other sites are bogus. The real posters have hallmarks — outlined below — that should allow authentication by most people. These hallmarks have been found on all of the posters that came directly from Skolnick himself. As there are two sizes of this poster, there are different things to look for. The smaller version is quite rare, and there may well be 20 large posters for every small one. In addition, there are two versions of the large poster, one with the Wallkill venue, which is very rare, and one with the White Lake venue. White Lake is the location where the concert finally happened, and the posters were widely used.
The Type 1 original poster was printed on white stock and measures approximately 24″ x 36″, although the size may vary by as much as ½″. The stock is fairly thin and is not glossy — in fact, it is quite dull. All original posters of this type have the following printing flaws:
1. On the inside edge of the right hand stem of the “M” in “MUSIC,” where the stem makes a 45-degree angle back to the left, there is a tiny dot just inside the white ink;
2. There is a white speck to the left of the finger closest to the left edge. This speck is one inch up from the bottom of the blue band, and is approximately ″ from the left edge of the poster; and
3. There is a tiny white dot in the top stem of the “3.” It is roughly in the middle of the orange ink, and is ⅜ from the left edge of the “3.” This can be very difficult to see and may require magnification.
The Type 2 original poster was printed on white stock and measures approximately 18″ x 24″. There is little variation in the size of these posters and the stock is much thicker than the large size posters, as well as being fairly glossy. All original Type 2 posters we have seen have a vertical stripping line in the upper left corner, about 1" from the left edge (there are copies that have a second line right at the corner that got cut off on some). This is clearly visible with the naked eye. In addition, these were printed in such a way that the orange was overlaid on the red and is solid in color. All of the bootlegs we have seen have a dot screen pattern in the orange areas - these dots range from rather large to small enough that you need magnification to see them. Just remember that the originals have absolutely no dot pattern in the orange.
This image was reprinted with permission of the artist by Artrock, in an edition of 10,000. This printing measures approximately 22″ x 29″ and has a large white border. This edition was signed and numbered by the artist and many copies have been signed by a varying number of the performers.
Incredible String Band
Sly & the Family Stone
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Jeff Beck Group
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Ten Years After
(click to enlarge)
Original Poster - Type 1
Original Poster - Type 2condition: NM-
notes: Some very minor creasing and surface wear. Signed by Grace Slick