Janis Joplin: Project Talent Participant, Woodstock Legend
In August of 1969, half a million people gathered in Bethel, New York to attend the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Now known simply as Woodstock, the festival took place over three days and was one of the biggest rock music festivals of all time. Chosen by Rolling Stone as one of the “50 Moments That Changed the History of Rock and Roll,” Woodstock remains an iconic event in the history of the 60’s generation.
Thirty-two acclaimed musical acts played nearly nonstop over the course of the festival. Musical performances started in the afternoon and continued into the following day. Some of the most celebrated musical artists of the era took to the Woodstock stage, including the Grateful Dead, Sly and the Family Stone, and Jimi Hendrix. The lineup also included music legend and Project Talent participant, Janis Joplin.
Joplin took the Project Talent assessment in March of 1960 at Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, Texas—one of 51 participating high schools in that state. She subsequently participated in both the one- and five-year follow-up studies. At Woodstock, Joplin entered the stage at 2:00 a.m., directly after Creedence Clearwater Revival. Her set was comprised of ten songs, including her popular singles “Kozmic Blues” and “Piece of My Heart”.
Jim Morrison, lead vocalist for The Doors and another Project Talent participant, declined an invitation to perform at Woodstock. Later on, guitarist Robby Kreiger stated they turned down Woodstock for fear that it would be “a second class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival.”
Through their participation in Woodstock—an event that helped define a generation—musicians like Joplin became part of rock and roll history. Live footage from the festival was adapted into an Academy Award-winning documentary titled “Woodstock” in 1970. The Woodstock Music and Art Fair is still considered a symbol of the era, representing the peak of the rock and roll culture of the 1960s and 70s.