Read The Original Woodstock Festival Press Release

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Serious and large scale preparations have been made by the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, a major pop festival to be held in upstate Wallkill, N.Y., Aug. 15, 16, & 17 to insure three days of harmonious living in anticipation of what is expected to result in the most heavily attended pop music festival of the season.

In a special meeting of the underground press and pop music leaders called by Woodstock Ventures, Inc., (Thursday June 26), ground rules were laid by VPs Artie Kornfield and Mike Lang, of the Woodstock Festival, concerned about the tones festivals are taking throughout the country. Heading the meeting with Kornfield and Lang was Jim Fouratt, freelance underground writer and originator of the first be-ins.

“We are here to curtail incidents between the kids and police,” said Kornfield. “If we want to stop violence and tension from becoming the norm on the fair grounds, (Newport, Calif., June 22: Denver Pop Festival, June 27) we’ve got to set new tones and for the festival and redefine its meaning.”

Woodstock has set its concept of the festival at “three days of peace and music.” “This is a scene away from all scenes or no scene at all,” said Lang. “At Wallkill we have 600 acres of free-space-to-roam on cleared country ground…perfect for a three day holiday.

Offered by the Woodstock festival are free camping grounds which will be the site of free round-the-clock workshops in poetry, craft, theatre, pottery and music, free cookouts and guitar playing around centrally controlled 24 hour fires and free rice kitchens for hungry music lovers with little or no money for food.

Camping supply stores will sell food for cooking out and organic food stands will offset a major delicatessen concessionaire contacted for the event.

Mathematically computed, are the number of comfort stations, first aid stations, water supply, food, and garbage detail to clean fair grounds daily.

Concerned with the esthetic as well, the four Woodstock principals, including VP Joel Rosenman and Woodstock Ventures president, John Roberts have planned “countless mind blowers” for the fair grounds. “Invisible art things, are one,” said Rosenman, “structures that you can’t tell if their natural or man-made.” Other things include chimes in the woods, things to play on, poems and paintings over rocks and “things to make for good vibrations.”

A carefully screened and briefed security staff headed by West Pomeroy, former Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Johnson Administration, will traffic the fair grounds and provide information and service at all fair-goers. Assisted by the Rev. Don Ganoung, Pomeroy said his men will be unarmed and plainclothed. “We are not there to police,” said Pomeroy. “Our function is to service.”

Woodstock does not figure on gate crashers. “Parking facilities will be provided for outside the fair ground area,” said John Roberts, “all patrons will be bussed to the gates, a twenty four hour service.”

Underground spokesman Jim Fouratt closed the meeting. “Part of the trouble stems from the fact that we really don’t know what to expect from the promoters, what their offering, what we are really paying for. The Woodstock people have laid it out so we don’t know what to expect.

Both Kornfield and Lang deny having backers. They say they and their partners Rosenman and Roberts have subsidized the entire event. All under thirty years of age, they say they got the idea of doing the festival because they needed one to go to that was groovy. “It all happened,” says Roberts, “because Mike and Artie wanted to see all their favorite performers on the same stage just once.”


This press release is a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s 40th anniversary of Woodstock exhibit which tells the story of the festival. Woodstock turned out to be the most heavily attended festival in rock and roll history. The resulting music and peace-loving movement changed the world. The exhibit is open through November 2009. To view other original festival planning and marketing documents, please visit


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  2. I am sure that the guys dying in Viet Nam, and those of us sitting in rice paddies, failed to (and still fail) see the “magic” and “fascination” of Woodstock, a gathering of nothing, about nothing.

  3. The Woodstock Festival did not take place in Woodstock, New York but in the town of Bethel which is sixty-seven miles due west. The second day of that mythic, three-day concert coincided with my eleventh birthday (I am going to be fifty-one on Sunday. Yikes! Where did the time go?). I remember quite clearly my friend Tom Finkle and I riding our bikes up to the bridge on South Street that overlooks Route 17 – a four lane highway which snakes its way into Sullivan County where the great event took place. It looked like a long and narrow parking lot. The New York State Thruway had been shut down. To the best of my knowledge, that had never happened before and has not happened since.

    To say that it was an exciting time to be alive almost sounds redundant. Less than four weeks earlier, two human beings had walked on the surface of the moon, a technological feat that will probably out shine every other event of the twentieth century in the history books that will be written a thousand years from now. As future decades unwind, it is a certainty that the photographic image of half a million kids, partying and dancing in the mud, will not continue to sustain the cultural significance that it does for us today. The years will pass by, the people who were lucky enough to be there will one day be no more, and the Woodstock Festival will be erased from living memory; a mere footnote to a very crowded century. But what a freaking party, baby!

    This weekend I’ll be listening to my copy of the Woodstock Soundtrack LP – on vinyl, of course. The very thought of listening to it on a compact disc seems somehow sacrilegious. Although I could have done without Sha-Na-Na’s version of At The Hop, all in all it’s a pretty good collection of tunes. I have always envied my cousin, the noted falconer Tom Cullen, who was a witness to Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Can you imagine? Canned Heat’s performance of Going Up The Country is one of the great moments in rock history; and for the last forty years, whenever I heard Joan Baez singing Joe Hill, I have had to pause whatever I was doing at the moment and concentrate on it – It is one of the most moving pieces ever recorded on tape.

    “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

    Emma Goldman 1869-1940

    Dance with me, Emma!

    The last time I looked at my videocassette of Woodstock (which was well over a decade ago) I wondered about the fates of the half-a-million gathered on the fields of Max Yasgur’s farm in Sullivan County on that distant weekend. The passage of four decades decrees that a third or more of them have passed on. The average age of the attendees was about twenty-two. Today would find them approaching their mid-sixties; the age many of their grandparents were in 1969!

    There are many good people of that generation who have kept the spirit of the sixties alive – or have tried to anyway. America is not the same country it was forty years ago. 2009 finds us even more polarized than we were during the age of Richard Nixon.

    It is no longer merely a “generation gap” that is tearing America apart. The gaps today are almost too numerous to catalog: the political gap; the health insurance gap; the employment gap; the racial gap; the education gap; the class and income gaps. The world is a lot more troubled and sadder than it was in that long ago, magical summer of 1969. Sometimes I feel like a hostage to time. The truth is, for all the technological wonders of the twenty-first century, I just don’t like being here.

    No, I’m not going to kill myself. Chill.

    Where I come from, Woodstock has a special meaning to people because it happened here – or close enough to count. From where I now sit, Bethel is a mere forty-two miles northwest. According to this morning’s local paper, seventy-five media outlets from all over the world will be covering the events commemorating the anniversary this weekend. That’s enough of a reason for me to stay the hell away. I’m not as crowd-friendly as I once was. Besides, I would have preferred to attend the real thing forty years ago. That would have been too cool for words!

    Nostalgia is a permanent human condition. Each generation is nostalgic for the last. It absolutely boggles the mind to think that the year 2049 will find those of us who survive looking back on these hideous times with tender longing. Given our silly human quirks, that will probably be the case. Still, it’s hard not to reflect on the hope that was prevalent in the summer of Woodstock. We want to believe that there is a magical future where, as John Lennon once imagined, there are no countries; nothing to kill or die for. Maybe we will one day arrive at that wondrous place.


    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY

  4. An instruction in spelling – 40 years later the multiple misspelling of their for they’re is presented for all to see again. “Invisible art things, are one,” said Rosenman, “structures that you can’t tell if their natural or man-made.” ”…what their offering…” I would be appalled if it were me.

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Comment of the Week: “Nostalgia is a Permanent Human Condition.”