Photos offering a rare glimpse of the iconic Woodstock Festival sold for more than $16,000 on July 15 at an auction hosted by New York-based Guernsey Auctioneers.
Known as the Woodstock Storybook, the unique footage shows some of the world’s most famous rock stars performing at the unique festival in August 1969, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and Neil Young.
They were taken by Barry Levine, 77, whose access pass allowed him to get up close to the performers and take aerial photos from a helicopter.
The identity of the winning bidder was not released.
Barry Levine, then producer at Columbia Records, jumped on his helicopter for the only aerial photos of the 1969 1969 festival
Guitarist Jimi Hendrix headlined the festival, which was turned into a documentary that became a box office blockbuster and won an Academy Award in 1970
Hendrix died of an overdose in September 1970, just over a year after Woodstock, at the age of 27
Singer Janis Joplin is one of the many rock icons that Levine has gotten close while shooting the event
“I’m turning 78 in less than a month. I was 26 at Woodstock, so I thought it was time to pass them on to someone else,” he said.
Levine auctioned off the 300 original color slides documenting the three-day festival.
Several close-up shots of Jimi Hendrix sold for $4,600, while others featuring the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia sold for $3,500.
A photo of Janis Joplin’s performance sold for $1,300.
The only extant photo of the folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing at the festival also sold for over $1,300. Young was a “purist” who hated being photographed.
The audience climbs one of the towers at the festival. Levine said conditions were “very bad.” There wasn’t enough food or water.’
The only extant photo of the folk rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young performing at the 1969 festival (above) sold for over $1,300 alone, as Neil Young was a “purist” who hated it. had to be photographed
Levine was at the festival ‘from when it was a grass field to a muddy field’. Above, English blues singer Joe Crocker is wearing a tie-dye shirt
Alvin Lee, singer and guitarist for Ten Years After, performs at Woodstock
Levine’s Leica camera and press card used for the festival sold for $3,704.
All told, the collection sold for $17.301.
It also includes a unique aerial view of the festival site in Bethel, New York, and intimate photos of those who attended.
Levine was a freelance producer for Columbia Records and is the sole photographer for the documentary Woodstock, which was released in March 1970 and became one of the highest grossing documentaries of the year.
“I got there on August 17, 1969, and I was there from when it was a grassy field to a muddy field,” he said.
The collection was sold at auction in New York this month to an unknown bidder
The entire collection, including photos and memorabilia such as Levine’s Leica camera, grossed over $17,000 in total. Pictured, a couple at the 1969 event
Photos of The Who’s Pete Townshend (left) and Roger Daltrey (right) are part of Levine’s set of 300 color slides from the three-day festival
“The conditions were very bad. There was not enough food or water, but everyone lived in peace and love. The feeling was palpable – this was the life people had been waiting for, to live freely and rule themselves.
‘I had an all-access pass, which allowed me to go wherever I wanted. I had my own helicopter, so I was the only photographer taking the aerial shots.’
While the festival organizers went bankrupt because of the event itself, they made their money back from the film and recording rights.
Held on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York, a few miles from the town of Woodstock, the “Three Days of Peace and Love” drew 400,000 people, many of whom entered without tickets.