The Byrds were invited to perform at the Woodstock Festival, but chose not to participate, not figuring Woodstock to be any different from all the other music festivals that summer. In addition, there were concerns about money.
As bassist John York remembers:
"We were flying to a gig and Roger [McGuinn] came up to us and said that a guy was putting on a festival in upstate New York. But at that point they weren't paying all of the bands. He asked us if we wanted to do it and we said, 'No'. We had no idea what it was going to be. We were burned out and tired of the festival scene. So all of us said, 'No, we want a rest' and missed the best festival of all".