Woodstock: How much were original artists paid in 1969?

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As the 50th anniversary of Woodstock approaches, we’re ook back at the original festival budget. 

By Geoff Herbert | gherbert@syracuse.com to read the full article click here

in 1969, the headliners were very different: Jimi Hendrix was the top-billed artist and received 24 times more money than Santana, according to archived documents. Hendrix was paid $18,000 which would be over $120,000 in 2019 (adjusted for inflation); Santana received $750, or just over $5,000 today.

Scroll down to see how much the original Woodstock performers were paid, and how much each would be paid in today’s dollars when adjusted for inflation.

The Carlos Santana-led band was relatively unknown outside of San Francisco at the time, but later become recognized as one of Woodstock’s most iconic performers with a career that still thrives today.

By comparison, Variety reports rumored Woodstock 50 performers like The Killers and Imagine Dragons both earned upwards of $500,000 per gig back in 2014. According to Complex, a headliner like Jay-Z gets paid $1 million — or more.

Festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo are big business now, but that seems crazy when compared to 1969 artist fees for iconic Woodstock performers like Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker, who got $7,500 and $1,375, respectively. Even with inflation, that’s still just $51,440 and $9,430 today, respectively.

And how much were Woodstock tickets? 2019’s prices haven’t been announced yet, but 1969 tickets were as low as $6.50 (or $18 for a three-day pass) and Woodstock ’99 prices were $150.

Jimi Hendrix $18,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $123,455) Blood, Sweat and Tears $15,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $102,879) Creedence Clearwater Revival $10,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $68,586) Joan Baez  $10,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $68,586) – Jefferson Airplane $7,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $51,439)  The Band $7,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $51,439)  

Janis Joplin $7,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $51,439) Sly and the Family Stone $7,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $48,010) Canned Heat $6,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $44,581) The Who

$6,250 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $42,866) Richie Havens 6000(adjusted for inflation in 2019: $41,151) Arlo Guthrie $5,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $34,293) Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young $5,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $34,293) Ravi Shankar $4,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $30,864) Johnny Winter$3,750 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $25,720)

Ten Years After $3,250 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $22,291) Country Joe and the Fish $2,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $17,147) Grateful Dead
$2,500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $17,146) The Incredible String Band
$2,250 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $15,432) Mountain $2,000(adjusted for inflation in 2019: $13,717) Tim Hardin $2,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $13,717) Joe Cocker
$1,375 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $9,431) Sweetwater $1,250 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $8,573) John B. Sebastian $1,000 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $6,859)

Santana $750 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $5,144) Melanie $750 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $5,144) Sha Na Na
$700 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $4,801) Keef Hartley $500 (adjusted for inflation in 2019: $3,429) Quill
$375(adjusted for inflation in 2019: $2,572)

 

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