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Rare Woodstock Levi’s Jacket Sells for $65,000 at Auction

The Thread

In a remarkable intersection of fashion and music history, the custom tie-dye Levi’s jacket worn by John Sebastian at the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair recently fetched an impressive $65,000 at auction. This vibrant piece of counterculture memorabilia holds not only a distinctive aesthetic appeal but also a deep-rooted significance in the annals of rock history.

John Sebastian, the founder of The Lovin’ Spoonful, personally dyed the non-stretch, relaxed-fit cotton denim jacket. Originally cream/off-white, the jacket was transformed into a psychedelic masterpiece featuring a fold-over collar, riveted Levi Strauss & Co. metal buttons, two chest pockets, single button cuffs, and two adjuster tabs at the back hem. A unique touch includes an embroidered radish on the left shoulder. Notably, the jacket lacks manufacturer or size tags, adding to its one-of-a-kind allure.

Sebastian’s journey to Woodstock in Bethel, New York, on August 16, 1969, was unplanned. He hitched a ride in a helicopter intended for The Incredible String Band, aiming to enjoy the festival as a guest. However, after Santana’s electrifying performance on the second day, Woodstock’s lighting coordinator and Sebastian’s friend, Chip Monck, invited him to perform. Clad in his tie-dyed jacket, Sebastian took the stage to fill the time between sets, delivering a memorable performance from 3:30 to 4:00 pm.

His impromptu set included five songs: “How Have You Been,” “Rainbows All Over Your Blues,” “I Had a Dream,” “Darlin’ Be Home Soon,” and “Younger Generation.” Throughout his performance, Sebastian shared heartfelt stories and advice, encapsulating the spirit of Woodstock with lines like, “Just love everybody all around you and clean up a little garbage on your way out and everything gonna be alright.”

Beyond Woodstock, Sebastian’s tie-dye jacket became a regular part of his wardrobe, worn on numerous stages and in personal settings. He sported it at the Big Sur Folk Festival in California on September 8-9, 1968, alongside Crosby, Stills, & Nash, and Joni Mitchell. It also appeared at the Concert at Anaheim on June 14, 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival on August 31, 1970, and at his home, “The Farm.” The jacket is prominently featured in photos on the interior of his debut solo album, “John B. Sebastian.”

This iconic jacket, a testament to the vibrancy and spirit of the late 1960s, now stands as a prized collectible, encapsulating a pivotal moment in music history and the enduring legacy of one of rock’s beloved figures.

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