The Incredible String Band was a psychedelic folk band from Scotland who blended traditional instruments, poetry, and performance art. It doesn’t get much more hippie than that. Unfortunately Woodstock didn’t work out too well for them.
The band refused to go on Friday night due to the rain, so instead of playing with the folk line up they were jammed between the much heavier Keef Hartley and Canned Heat early Saturday evening.
Their set is considered by many to be the low point of the festival, but who knows. What seems certain, however, is that it was an off night for the band, and the most famous concert ever is the wrong time to have an off night.
ISB stayed together until 1974 and then reunited for another run from 1999 to 2006. Now and then you’ll see them listed as an influence, most notably by Robert Plant.
Here’s The Incredible String Band’s Woodstock set list and where you can find official versions of some of the tracks:
- Invocation (Spoken Word) (Youtube)
- The Letter (Woodstock 40 (CD))
- Gather ‘Round
- This Moment (Youtube)
- Come With Me
- When You Find Out Who You Are (Woodstock Diary 1969 (DVD))
Your official Woodstock soundtrack song count to date: 56
Update: On August 2, 2019, Rhino Records released Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive and changed the game forever. With exception to two Hendrix tracks and one Sha Na Na cut, the massive box set contains complete sets from every Woodstock artist—even those long believed lost or never recorded.
Here is the Incredible String Band‘s set as it appears on the Back to the Garden archive, including announcements, etc.:
1. Chip Monck – “Puppet theatre will be going on at the Hog Farm at 6:15”
3. THE LETTER
4. Chip Monck – “Please excuse this interruption”
5. GATHER ‘ROUND
6. Robin Williamson – “It makes me fantastically happy”
7. THIS MOMENT
8. COME WITH ME
9. Robin Williamson – “I just want to acknowledge all the requests”
10. WHEN YOU FIND OUT WHO YOU ARE
11. Chip Monck – “Could we please have the driver of Sly’s truck, please?”
12. Hugh Romney – “I don’t think there’s such a thing as a bum trip”
13. Chip Monck – “Let’s see if we can get some semblance of order going”
Categories: Music, record collecting
WOODSTOCK 1969 The Incredible String Band is a solid and lyrical force. I am surprised they haven’t made it big or huge in North America. I love their talent, charisma and creativity. I wonder what difference it would have made to them , if they had played in the rain on that Friday evening? What difference would it have made to us – the generation after Woodstock? THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND is and always will be legendary and simply incredible in my heart, mind and in my soul. Forever Awesome!
It’s an interesting question. Who knows how different things may have turned out?
I was wondering, do you have an opinion as to why their set the following day was not embraced or why it was off. I watched the video and they seemed great to me. Any speculations on why The Incredible String Band and the crowds at Woodstock did not connect? Also, do you have a favourite ISB song? Mine is Cousin Caterpillar from the album The Big Huge. Thank you for your replies. I am enjoying your posts and I am looking forward to your blog on The Band.
I really don’t know, but if I had to venture a guess it would be that they were a little bit too out there for an audience of that size.
Thank you for the footage of the day that THE INCREDIBLE STRING BAND performed at WOODSTOCK 1969! Regardless, of the cool reception of the crowds, I will always enjoy their music.
Reblogged this on hurdygurdygurl's Blog and commented:
The Incredible String Band at Woodstock 1969! Simply incredible – always and forever in my mind, heart and soul. Simply Big and Huge!