How do you become The Father of Festival Sound? 50 years ago, organizers of the historic Woodstock Music and Art Fair in upstate New York searched for someone who could handle the unprecedented challenge of running their sound system. Luckily for them, “this crazy guy in Boston,” Bill Hanley, was available. Hanley’s innovative setup and the resulting recording forever shaped our collective memory of this generation-defining concert.

Brothers Bill and Terry Hanley formed Hanley Sound in the basement of a storefront on Salem St. in Medford’s Haines Square in 1957. Among a long list of innovations, Bill pioneered techniques in amplification, sound system design, and sound reinforcement, all of which came into play at Woodstock. Want more peace, love and music? Watch American Experience’s WOODSTOCK, now streaming at

For more about Hanley Sound and Bill’s pioneering role in the audio industry, visit