Exclusive: Carlos Santana Remembers 'Monumental' Woodstock Fest, 45 Years Later

Woodstock At 40: Where Are They Now

August 1969: Mexican-born guitarist Carlos Santana (right) and bassist David Brown perform with the group Santana at the Woodstock Music Festival

"There were women and men, an ocean of hearts screaming," the legendary guitarist tells Billboard about the iconic event.

Santana didn't foresee the notoriety that would come with their performance at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair in 1969.

Carlos Santana and his bandmates took the stage prior to the release of their debut album, and stunned with their surprise introductory slot.

Woodstock at 45: A Look Back at the Iconic Festival

Their legendary performance heightened the group's popularity. But to Carlos Santana, their performance at the festival was about freedom: "It was very memorable and monumental. We didn't know that there were so many people in the '60s that wanted to stop the war. People got involved in the '60s, with the Black Panthers and the students. We wanted to change the world, like Jim Morrison, from The Doors, said: 'We want the world and we want it now.'"
"I didn't realize till we got to Woodstock just how many freaks [there were] at Woodstock. There were women and men, an ocean of hearts screaming. I use this word 'freaks' as a positive thing. Freaks are great. Freak is a good word, because you're outside of the normal," he told Billboard. "We all wanted Vietnam to stop. We wanted to be liberated, emancipated from mental slavery. We are one family at Woodstock."


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