Friday, February 6, 2015

WOODSTOCK chapter 4

Some Facts
The Woodstock festival or concert as they are called now was the most popular concert of the 1960’s.
With more than 500,000 people attending the event, the three-day concert that took place in nearby Woodstock, New York in a town called Wallkill on Sam Yasgur’s farm for three days in August 1969, prove to be the climax of the 1960’s spirit.
The idea for the festival came from band manager Michael Lang and Artie Kornfeld, a songwriter turned record company executive. They wanted to raise money to build a recording studio in Woodstock, upstate New York, a haven for artists including Bob Dylan, The Band and Van Morrison.
  • However, the concert was plagued with problems from the beginning. First, the developers of the concert ran into problems finding an actual site to have the concert.
  • It was suppose to be in Woodstock but the townspeople did not like the thought of a large number of hippies showing up in their backyard. Once a place was found, parking issues, transportation in and out of the site, water, electricity, and stage problems began to arise.
  • The concert was planned for only 200,000 but the developers became quickly overwhelmed when more than 500,000 people showed up.
  • The sheer number of people caused resources like water and sanitary conditions to become limited. Unlike the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock was not free.
  • The developers planned to make money and the artists expected to be paid. These were not burgeoning artists, these were some of the most popular and talented artists in the world that were performing.
  • However, when the gates became flooded and run over by the overwhelming crowds, the developers deciding – were forced - to forego the cost of admission.
  • Because Woodstock eventually turned into a free concert, this put a financial burden on the developers. Initially they didn’t make any money from the concert but later on from record and film sales they did recoup some of their costs.
  • Then the rain came. The rain turned the farm that the concert was being held on into a mudslide. Due to the wind and rain, the stage suffered damage and electrical problems became a major concern.
  • With storm clouds approaching, the crowd was urged: 'Let's think hard to get rid of the rain.' A chant went up: 'No rain, no rain, no rain.' But it didn't stop the deluge and in three hours, five inches of rain fell and the festival became a mudfest. Joan Baez famously sang 'We shall overcome' during a full-on thunderstorm.
  • Sanitary, food, water, and other supplies were extremely limited.
  • Many of the top music acts that performed at Woodstock included Ritchie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly and the Family Stone, Grateful Dead, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and Jimi Hendrix.
  • The concert opened with Ritchie Havens on Friday and ended with Hendrix on Monday morning.
  • Joni Mitchell wrote the festival's eponymous song, with the lyrics 'We are stardust we are golden', from what she heard of the event from then-boyfriend Graham Nash, ex-Hollies and one quarter of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But she never made it to Woodstock. Taking the advice of her manager, she chose to guest on the Dick Cavett Show and then watched the festival unfold on TV, tears streaming down her face.
  • The festival was long, too long, many acts performed for hours including the Who, whose performance included a 24 song set and was interrupted by one of the concert’s developers, Abbie Hoffman, to protest a national news incident.
  • Because of rain delays, interruptions, long sets, and disorganization the concert continued into Monday morning but most of the people had left wet and weary. Many acts began their performances in the early morning hours.
  • By the time Hendrix performed most of the crowd had left, which was unfortunate because his was one of the best performances, and most memorable by those who stayed, of the festival.
  • Woodstock was the opposite of the Monterey Pop Festival, which encountered no problems with the crowds, weather, or artists, and was organized. There were two deaths, arrests, and, of course, drug use. In fact, one of the deaths was due to a heroin overdose.
  • Despite all of the problems encountered with the Woodstock Festival, the concert went on and was a success and a historical event in music history and has spawned many Woodstock revivals years later.
Of all the images snapped during the original Woodstock weekend, one stands above all: a young couple huddled together in a blanket, standing alone in a sea of people lying on wet ground.
The couple in the famous photograph, Nick Ercoline and Bobbi Kelly, are still together (here’s what they look like now). They had dated for only 10 weeks when their photo was taken by photographer Burk Uzzle, During a year of great violence, the 1969 photo exudes a sense of peace.
They say they remember nothing of the original shot. "We weren't striking a pose," Nick says. "We were as surprised as everybody to see that photo on the album cover."

They had heard so much on the radio about an approaching festival called Woodstock that “we just had to go,” Bobbi says. They took back roads to Bethel, N.Y., parked their car when they couldn't drive farther and walked the final two miles.
They stayed only one night. They never saw the stage because they were so far away. But at some point, and they have no idea when, a photographer took their picture hugging, draped in a quilt, on a muddy hillside.

They discovered the picture while at a friend's house listening to the album and passing around the gatefold jacket. First, Nick recognized the famous yellow butterfly staff in the left corner. "It belonged to this guy Herbie," Nick says. "We latched on to him that day because he was having a very bad experience. He was tripping pretty heavily and he had lost his friends. After I saw that staff I said, 'Hey that's our blanket.' Then I said, 'Hey, that's us.'"

Bobbi, then 20, wasn't overly impressed. "Woodstock was over and done with at that time," she says. "It didn't seem like a big deal. The only thing was that then I had to tell my mother I had gone. She didn't know. But by then, she didn't mind."

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