Editors: Weston Blelock and Julia Blelock
ISBN: 978-0-9679268-5-8

Click Here To Purchase Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to "Woodstock"

Over a period of three days in August of 1969 the Woodstock music festival was held just outside the rolling farmlands of Bethel, New York. The festival attracted some of the best rock and folk performers of the day resulting in a fantastic mass of sights and sounds. It is estimated that over three hundred thousand people attended the festival causing humongous traffic jams not to mention illegal drugs, mud, skinny-dipping and other fun activities.

To celebrate the fortieth anniversary the Roots project was created in March 2008’ as an idea for the 2009’ edition of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts travel guide.

On August 9th, 2008 a panel of six individuals participated at the Colony Café in Woodstock in an interesting exchange of ideas and thoughts about the festival.The panel consisted of Michael Lang, a Woodstock resident and legendary promoter of the festival, Jean Young, co-author with Lang of Woodstock Festival Remembered, Bill West, active in local government since the 1960s, Jeremy Wilber, former Town Supervisor and bartender during the sixties at the Sled Hill Café, and Paul McMahon, a local music icon and bona fide hippie. The moderator was Geddy Sveikauskas, publisher of the Woodstock Times.

Editors Weston Blelock and Julia Blelock believed that the discussion that ensued would be an appropriate way to bring the era of the festival into focus and thus they crafted the Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to”Woodstock.”

The first part of the book contains a complete transcript of the panel discussion where some very interesting questions were posed. Even more fascinating were the replies and comments from the audience.

One such fact that came out of the discussion was that because a site could not be found in Woodstock, it was held in Bethel NY, nonetheless, the promoters refused to give up the name Woodstock. They felt that it originally was supposed to take place in Woodstock and according to Michael Lang, the name embodied a lot of the feelings and imagery that the promoters wanted to conjure in promoting the festival-“it said the right things about what we were trying to do.”

The discussion also included queries as to how Woodstock impacted the panellists, how they heard about the festival, some of their concerns, are they able to share any anecdotes about the so-called hippie problem-regarding loitering, law and order, narcotics, health and sewer issues, and recreational camping, how did the festival influence their thinking, how did it manifest itself in their lives today, will there ever be another event like the 1969 festival and if there is such an event, what will be the circumstances.

The second half of the book contains a ‘roots of Woodstock’ photo essay chronicling the Arts and Crafts origins of Woodstock, from its glass-making era in the 1800s, the founding of the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in 1902 to events leading up to the 1969 festival. The photos alone are worth the price of the book.

For anyone not familiar with the Woodstock festival or perhaps those who want to reminisce, this is an excellent book filled with facts and details where the contributors have generously shared their thoughts and experiences in a way that you think you were actually attending the discussion. The Blelocks are to be congratulated in preserving the spirit and history of the Woodstock festival.

  Click Here To Purchase Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to "Woodstock"