How much did Jimi Hendrix get paid for headlining Woodstock 1969?

Jimi Hendrix was filled with inspiration as he looked out over a throng of bodies that extended past his field of vision. Since then, his act has been recorded in history as proof of this. Later, the guitarist poeticized: “500,000 halos outshined the mud and history. We washed and drank in God’s tears of joy, and for once, and for everyone, the truth was not a mystery. Love called to all; music is magic.”

It was the height of the counterculture movement, Woodstock 1969, the best and worst of times, the era of love and foolishness, and everything in between. The well-known celebration predicted the hopelessness of winter’s descent and signaled the hazy pinnacle of spring’s exuberance. The world has been in disarray ever since the vast unwashed gathered for three days in August 1969, in a little village in the Catskill Mountains, just north of New York City.

It now represents the anti-materialism and reckless abandon of the counterculture movement and is seen as the epitome of both its positive and negative aspects. However, was it that anti-commercial? In all honesty, judging from the amounts the performers received, today’s performances amounted to little more than a charity concert.

Given the current state of the music industry, where a young band’s EP recording costs between £8,000 and $10,000 ($9,855 to $12,321), and where admission to the closest Woodstock equivalent, Glastonbury Festival, costs £355 plus a £5 booking fee ($455), the fact that tickets for the legendary 1969 event cost just $18 (roughly $143.50 / £116.50 in today’s dollars) and that an estimated 180,000+ people attended without a ticket speaks volumes about how commercial music has become.

That also applies to the fees of the main act. One of the biggest and most significant cultural events in contemporary history is thought to have been Hendrix’s headlining set. What was his pay for it? He was paid $18,000. That equals $143,536 / £116,514 in modern currency. Securing Hendrix to head up the dizzy height of a revolution in front of over 400,000 people is hardly an astronomical figure, considering that it is believed that Ed Sheeran received over £200,000 for headlining Glastonbury in 2017 and acts have been known to score $4 million for topping the bill at Coachella.

Currently, it is anticipated that U2 will make about $1 million every show during their 25-date stint at The Sphere. Though the location is undoubtedly innovative, will that run be remembered with the same reverence in the annals of history? Not at all. From an economic standpoint, however, the shows are seven times more significant.

And poor old Quill, they received just $375 between them, according to The Bethel Woods Center, making them the lowest-paid performers on the 32-act production. This equals $2,990 / £2,427 in current currency.

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