How much did Woodstock '69 musicians make? A list


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Because I was curious, I checked what Hendrix’s booking fee equated to in 2015 dollars. According to, it would be just shy of $115,000.

That still seems surprisingly low, but not quite as much of a shocker.

If we look at current artists in that price range (list here: ) it seems that one Jimi Hendrix festival appearance is worth about the same as one booking for 311, Ben Harper, Flo Rida, Cee Lo Green, or LL Cool J.

If you figure that artists might negotiate down a bit to join in the zeitgeist, you get up into some more current/mainstream acts: Lorde, Foster the People, and Bruno Mars are all available for around $200k or a bit more.

While the artists at Woodstock are epic now, they still represented a somewhat outside-the-mainstream market in '69. Given that, I’d say it’s striking how similar the booking fees are to artists currently occupying that space.


Capitalist running-dog lackeys.


$750 for Santana! Woodstock launched Santana to national visibility. It was also a real cultural milestone because most people had never heard anything like that Latin jazz blues blend played by a kid from Tijuana. When you see his set in the Woodstock movie you get the sense that the world was never going to be quite the same.


If only we could learn how much performing cost each performer/band. (Financially, not, like, psychologically)

You’re killin’ our buzz, man!

I’m guessing some of these acts had to borrow money from mom just to cover their travel expenses.

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You’ve got to remember, we are looking back knowing what came after, but at the time Santana was an unknown, even The Who were not as big as they would become later (“Tommy” had only just come out, and “Who’s Next” wouldn’t come for another two years), whereas Blood, Sweat and Tears was hugely popular though they are kind of ignored now.


Just for shits and giggles here’s all of them in 2015 dollars, rounded to the nearest $100:

Jimi Hendrix $120,000
Blood, Sweat and Tears $99,200
Joan Baez $66,100
Creedence Clearwater Revival $66,100
The Band $49,600
Janis Joplin $49,600
Jefferson Airplane $49,600
Sly and the Family Stone $46,300
Canned Heat $43,000
The Who $41,300
Richie Havens $39,700
Arlo Guthrie $33,000
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young $33,000
Ravi Shankar $29,800
Johnny Winter $24,800
Ten Years After $21,500
Country Joe and the Fish $16,500
Grateful Dead $16,500
The Incredible String Band $14,900
Mountain $13,200
Tim Hardin $13,200
Joe Cocker $9,000
Sweetwater $8,300
John B $6,600
Melanie $5,000
Santana $5,000
Sha Na Na $4,600
Keef Hartley $3,300
Quill $2,500


I was going to do that myself, thanks!
Also, in the comments of the original, one person says those are likely initial deposits of half the total due to the artist, but it’s not confirmed.

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So in other words, when Lorne Michaels offered the Beates $3,000 to reunite a few years later, he wasn’t lowballing it THAT much.

The first time I heard Santana’s live version of “Soul Survivor” from Woodstock, it was a revelation.


combine that with how much they’ve made in the 45+ years since with the reputation garnered as being “one of the woodstock bands,” and that was a nice down payment on a decent chunk of money. even though lots of these artists are long gone, their name and the money made from it just keeps chugging along.

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not bad for a “free” concert

The Grateful Dead didn’t get paid much, but at least they didn’t quite get electrocuted by their rained-on amplifiers, which were trying hard to zap everybody. They were playing in the middle of the night, and generally felt it was a terrible show; eventually they did get better.

It’s a hoot to see Arlo Guthrie so high on the list.

Why? He was one of the better known performers at the time.

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