Woodstock Update


UPDATE: We’re taking a few days off while we travel to Bethel for the big Woodstock event August 15.  We hope to post a report early Sunday – come back then, or while away the time with some of these reposts.

Nobody is going to be caught short this time around – the 40th anniversary of Woodstock offers plenty of opportunity for promoters and performers to make a few bucks.  Which I guess is only fair, because many of them took a bath in 1969.  Michael Lang, one of the festival’s promoters, has a new book The Road To Woodstock which he’s been promoting.  In one interview, he recalled that the festival wasn’t known only as “Woodstock Music and Art Fair” at first – it was “An Aquarian Exposition.”  Woodstock, New York (about 50 miles to the northeast of where the festival was actually staged), was founded as an art colony in the early 1900s, and today it’s still home to musicians, writers and artists.  The “Aquarian Festival” was supposed to be in the real Woodstock, but they wound up moving it at the last minute to White Lake near Bethel.  You can see more about The Road To Woodstock here.

Lang’s plans for a Woodstock anniversary event in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have been cancelled.  He originally envisioned an “official” Woodstock 40th anniversary in New York City, in September.  But all plans for that have been dropped, because of a lack of investors.


Although he’s the headliner at the Woodstock 40th anniversary on the original grounds (August 15 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts), Levon Helm apparently won’t sing.  A note on his website says: “Due to his rigorous performance schedule, coupled with dozens of interviews with the press & media, Levon has overtaxed his voice.  He’s been advised by professionals to be on vocal rest for the next several weeks.  Levon will play drums and mandolin at all shows, but the vocal duties will be handled by the members of his band including his daughter, Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Brian Mitchell and, when in town, Jimmy Vivino (from the Tonight Show band).”  That’s a drag.

Leslie West, guitarist for Mountain, has big plans for the August 15 show in Bethel – he plans to get married onstage.  West and his fiancee Jenni Maurer have visited the local justice of the peace and he plans to tie the knot in front of fans, then he’ll play “Mississippi Queen.”

The Pied Piper of Woodstock, the memoirs of Woodstock 1969 co-promoter Artie Kornfeld, should be available sometime in November.  The book will outline Kornfeld’s life “growing up in the culture of American music.”  It covers his early career as a performer and songwriter, to his breakthrough as a producer promotion director, label owner, and arranger of some of the biggest names in music.  Kornfeld is lending his name to promote West Fest, a Woodstock tribute October 25 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.  Among the performers will be Denny Laine (Wings, Moody Blues), Country Joe McDonald, Ray Manzarek (The Doors) and members of such bands as It’s A Beautiful Day, Jefferson Airplane and the Byrds.

And finally – original “Aquarian Festival” poster artist Arnold Skolnick has been commissioned to come up with a Woodstock 40th anniversary poster.  Skolnick is the Madison Avenue dude who created the original iconic poster image for Woodstock and countless t-shirts (the dove on the guitar neck).  If you’re in Boston on August 6, you attend Skolnick’s show at the International Poster Gallery … or you can buy the poster online.

On Friday, Aug. 14,  VH-1 will air “Woodstock: Now & Then,” a documentary directed by Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple.  Original Woodstock promoter Michael Lang is executive producer of the film.  The History Channel will show “Woodstock: Now & Then” on Aug. 17.



Woodstock Universe

4 Responses to “Woodstock Update”

  1. Win a Woodstock special limited edition white Stratocaster guitar (only 40 made by Fender) and Collector’s Edition Woodstock DVD and listen to RADIO WOODSTOCK 69 which features only music from the original Woodstock era (1967-1971) and RADIO WOODSTOCK with music from the original Woodstock era to today’s artists who reflect the spirit of Woodstock. Go to http://www.woodstockuniverse.com for details.

    Peace, love, music,

  2. Folks should also read the book TAKING WOODSTOCK by Elliot Tiber with Tom Monte (also basis for the next film from director Ang Lee set for release August 28) . . . it’s the true story of how Tiber helped save Woodstock ’69 from cancellation by providing the crucial concert permit from the town of Bethel, New York . . . very cool!

  3. Taking Woodstock Says:

    According to Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld, Elliot Tibers version of How Woodstock happened and his role is a fictional account. Read the book if you want to wade thru 4 chapters of his homosexual experiences in NY nightclubs and gay movie theatres, I did. =)

  4. 30daysout Says:

    Festival organizers Lang and Kornfeld have both minimized Elliot Tiber’s role in putting on the Woodstock festival … apparently Tiber had a permit in place for the Bethel/White Lake area when Walkill/Woodstock pulled the plug on the 1969 festival. Tiber contacted Lang and Kornfeld about relocaing on the big fest on Yasgur’s land near his parents’ motel and … you know the rest. “Taking Woodstock” is a Hollywood movie, after all.

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