"That moment, I turned to guy I was with and said, 'I am going to be in the music business,'" said Hoffman, who toured with bands for a decade and now runs an entertainment production company. She still tours with bands and runs her own boutique company, all things possible.
Like others who say their lives were shaped by the anti-war stance of the generation, Hoffman said Woodstock was a clarion call.
"We were the first group that had one voice and that voice was: We don't like what's going on, but we are going to tell you through our music," she said.
"You could never pull something off like that organized chaos today."
At 23, Ginny Loveland of Ann Arbor, Mich., went to Woodstock with a boyfriend who became her husband. They arranged to meet her friends at the first aid station at noon on Saturday. They had packed nothing for the trip.
"I remember walking back to sleep on the car the first night and in some places it was almost single file getting around cars and then suddenly noticed that 75 percent of the people around me were totally naked."
Then the rains came and she had no fresh clothes or a towel. "We were sleeping on top of the car in sleeping bags, actually on the hood, and when we woke up to being soaking wet, there were no other clothes, no food and no way to get dry."
Today, she is a retired graphic designer, working in a landscaping nursery, and remembers "just being filthy, dirty and not caring...being exhausted and charged."
Larry Thaw, now of Fountainview, Ariz., turned 20 at Woodstock.
"My family had spent summers in bungalow colonies in the Catskills, so when I heard that the New York Thruway was closed, I just started hitting back roads until I got there," Thaw told ABCNews.com. "I found my older brother and the first thing he said was, 'Does mom know you're here?"
Bonnie Powell, now a 57-year-old from Freehold, N.J., had the same problem. She bought her tickets without telling her parents, heading up to Woodstock with her boyfriend -- now her husband -- in a borrowed a station wagon.
"I packed my duffle and left my Mom a note, knowing she was going to kill me when I returned," she told ABCNews.com. "We were thinking we were going to be gone just for the day."
But when she returned home, she was grounded her for two weeks. "My mother never told my Dad where I really was or I'd have gotten two more weeks," Powell said.
When he's not dealing cards at the black jack table at the Mirage casino in Las Vegas, Jan Katz, now 56, remembers his favorite Woodstock bands -- The Who and Sly and the Family Stone.
He was only 16 when he and a carload of friends took four to five hours to drive a short 20 miles to the festival site.
"The cars were backed up and people were sitting on their hoods, passing joints back and forth, and getting in and out of each other's VW vans," Katz, now 56, told ABCNews.com.
But the "happening" was not all idyllic. The lines at the portable toilets were legion. "I will never make it," he told his friends. "I will die."
The woods were also overpopulated. "People were all over the woods getting it on," he said. "I wasn't going to crouch around people making love."
He found relief eventually, but swore off food the rest of the weekend.
"Right now in hindsight, I wish I could go back to that time," Katz said. "People were so loving, giving and caring to each other. It was a blast all the way."