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Peanuts’ Woodstock & the Woodstock Festival

Original art is released on the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock, the Peanuts character’s namesake

I bet you didn’t know that Woodstock, the cute, oft-grumpy yellow bird and bestie sidekick to Snoopy, was named after the 1969 concert event!

The character started in the comic strip in 1966, and arrives as an unnamed baby bird that hatches on Snoopy. A year later, he shows up and starts his birdy chirp complaints, but somehow ‘worms’ his way into Snoopy’s heart.

Schulz himself named the character after seeing the poster for the Woodstock festival, the poster for which had a bird on a guitar..

Woodstock: Inspiring generations of rockers, and one of the most famous comic strip artists of all time. BIRDY THY NAME IS WOODSTOCK!
YES! Celebrate the birth of Woodstock. He’s the best birdie ever! Or maybe you guys are just all really really joyful or high. Or both…
You do you, Woodstock!

Schulz originally considered the bird to be a female, but after the naming on June 22, 1970, it incidentally changed to be a male. As he explained in an interview in 1987:

“I had been reading the Life magazine article about the Woodstock Festival and I had the little bird in the strip. It was a she and she was Snoopy’s secretary and I was doing secretary jokes quite often so then I thought Woodstock would be a good name for this bird and also, it will get the attention of these people that liked that kind of thing. Suddenly she was not a secretary; she became Woodstock, the boy. It just happened. But that’s what’s good about a comic strip—you can just do it.”

I, for one, “like that kind of thing.” We are all musicians here at ArtInsights. We STAN the Woodstock line-up!!

An original production cel release worthy of celebration!

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, Sopwith Productions, the company that has ALL the production art from the fantastic, beloved, best-ever animator Bill Melendez, is releasing original production cels of the character for sale.

Production cels of the character aren’t actually that easy to come by–it took the folks at Sopwith some time to pull together such great one of a kind Woodstock production cels and production drawings! Here are some great images from the collection:

These images will blow you away. Or maybe Woodstock is too close to the Marshall stack?
I bet the folks at the “3 day festival of love” had such cozy sleeping digs!!

The Woodstock Festival was a mess, but amazing:

Watch those stacks! They’re like lightning rods!

Meanwhile, it was nearly as delightful being in the rain and mud and mess in 1969 at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. It happened between August 15th and 18th in 1969. 400,000 people showed up, which was way more than they planned. There were massive traffic jams, and many bad trips. Only two deaths, one of which was from a tractor running over a sleeping hippy. (bummer, man..)

One of my favorite performers isn’t the most famous, but no less amazing. Richie Havens played first, because Sweetwater got stopped by police:

Oh the irony of the Grateful Dead set being cut short by a stage amp overloading out during “Turn Your Love Light On”…

Speaking to the love between Woodstock and Snoopy, and actually all the PEANUTS characters, this song is perfect. Joe Cocker’s version of it is my favorite! Here he is at Woodstock, performing “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends”, He’s basically blowing everyone’s mind with his talent and passion:

The Woodstock attendees got a few hours to consider his awesomeness. A bad rainstorm started just after his set, delaying the proceedings for several hours.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash literally made a name for themselves at Woodstock. If i’m going to include something from their performance there, This seems most appropriate. I include their version of Blackbird, since no one really knows what kind of bird the Peanuts character Woodstock is!

I know it seems strange to connect a cartoon bird and one of the most famous concerts in history. Still, for those who love all things Peanuts, it makes sense. The warm, joyful feeling we all get from both the performances of these amazing bands, and the cutest cartoon bird ever put onscreen or in comics…that joy is one and the same.

For more information or to ask about a specific Woodstock original production cel or drawing, email us at artinsights@gmail.com or contact the gallery at 703-478-0778.

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