Friday, April 5, 2013

“What Can a Hippie Contribute to our Community?”: Culture Wars, Moral Panics, and the Woodstock Festival

This paper, probably my only straightforward history paper--I am more of a culturologist, a sociologist, and a theorist who recognises the importance of history than a Big H historian--began life as a paper written for a seminar with Dr. Robert Dykstra on local and regional history with a focus on Texas at SUNY Albany. I originally intended to do a paper on upstate New York's reaction to John Lennon's statement that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus in 1966 but I couldn't find enough information about New York's reaction to Lennon's claim to turn into a paper. So after toying with exploring New York's reaction to scandals associated with Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry in addition to Lennon I switched to exploring local reactions to the Woodstock Festival in the fall of 1969 in Sullivan County, upstate New York.

As you can see I was able to find a lot on the culture war over the Woodstock Festival some of which surprised me and I hope surprises you as well. I was also able to interview a number of people who experienced the festival and that culture war over Woodstock first hand,individuals who in many cases are sadly no longer with us. I was helped extensively in tracking down the individuals with whom I did oral histories thanks to Martin Schwartz, a SUNYA criminology graduate student who worked for the the Albany Times-Union and covered some of the initial attempts to bring the rock festival to upstate New York. I met Marty when I was at Ohio University in Athens where Marty taught sociology and criminology. He introduced me to Charlie Bermpohl a reporter who had earlier covered World War II who, like Marty, covered the festival for the Times-Union and who was also incredibly helpful in pointing me towards people to talk to about Woodstock.

The paper sat in my computer for a number of years while I worked in publishing. When I was laid off from SUNY Press some six months after I turned down a job with the University of Illinois Press in the wake of the yet another American economic bust after 9/11--dont you just love how "non-profits" treat human beings?--I decided to pursue a doctoral degree. I began work on a dissertation on Mormonism and pulled this paper out of computer storage, revised it, and presented it at the 2009 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, New Orleans, 8 to 11 April. In 20l0 the paper was published in New York History 91:3 (Summer 2010), pp. 221-243 (the version you should refer to if you want to quote this paper).

By the way, the battle over the Woodstock Festival in Bethel continued into the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. Proponents of the festival finally, I suppose one could say, won this battle in the 1960s inspired culture war in the United States because they were younger than the opponents and because of the difficult economic situation in upstate New York. Proponents, no doubt, saw money in them there festival nostalgic hills. Some enterprising researcher could look at the later battles in Bethel over proposed Woodstock festivals in the 1970s and 1990s to extend my analysis into the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, battles perhaps best symbolised in the battles between Bethel town and Roy Howard and his wife Jeryl Abramson, who owned the Yasgur house and one hundred acres of the Yasgur dairy farm until 2007, over Woodstock commemorative festivals, and concluded with the triumph of the memorialists in the 2000s, a triumph probably best symbolised by the building of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts and the Museum at Bethel Woods in 2006 and 2008 thanks to an agreement between the town of Bethel and billionaire Alan Gerry, a Liberty, New York born cable magnate.

This transformation in the memorialisation of the festival is, for me, best symbolised by two visits I made to Bethel, the first in 1996, the second in 2009. The things that remain firmly etched in my memory from my first visit to Bethel town in 1996 are how many people refused to talk to me about anything related to the festival, that there was no indication that the festival had even taken place in the town, that there was no one but me and a marker placed at the site of the festival when I visited it to get a sense of what it was like. When I returned to Bethel and Yasgur's Farm over ten years later in 2009 I experienced something entirely different that is now too etched in my mind. In 2009 I found banners celebrating the festival and a small museum in the town memorialisng it. I found that many of the documents relating to the festival that I had to search hard for in the basement of the Bethel Town Hall had been collected and collated by Bethel's town clerk. I found that the site that I had visited some ten years earlier had been disneyfied. I found that, this being the fortieth anniversary of the festival, that site had become a pilgrimage for people from all over the world including a couple of Austrian tourists and an Australian TV news crew who were wondering around the field down the hill from where the Bethel Woods Center now set. Times they do a-change.


Introduction [1]
Amazingly, given the size and symbolic importance of the Woodstock Festival to historians of the sixties, the counterculture, and to its critics, there has been little scholarly exploration of the economic, social, political, and cultural fallout surrounding this massive rock festival held between 15 and 17 August 1969 in the town of Bethel in upstate New York. Popular exposes on the economic aspects of the festival and an oral history have been published, but little of an academic nature has rolled off the presses. This essay hopes to rectify this imbalance. It tells the tale of a culture war in one American community in upstate New York in the 1960s By focusing on the various attempts of Woodstock’s organizers to mount a concert in upstate New York and the controversies these attempts stirred and aggravated every step of the way, this paper hopes to contribute to the literature on the culture war in the United States in the 1960s.

“Young Men with Unlimited Capital”
The story of the Woodstock Festival begins with the formation of Woodstock Ventures, Inc. by four young men in their mid-twenties: Michael Lang, John Roberts, Artie Kornfeld, and Joel Rosenman. The four met after Roberts and Rosenman put an ad in the Business Opportunities section of the Wall Street Journal whose purpose was to hook up two “[y]oung men with unlimited capital” with others interested in “legitimate business enterprises”. Roberts, whose mother was heir to the Block Drug Company fortune, provided the “unlimited capital” for the venture. Lang was the salesman, the man who offered Roberts “legitimate business ideas.” One of these “ideas” was to build a music studio in the village of Woodstock. Another was to start a record company there. A third was an idea for a rock festival. [2]

By the 1960s the village of Woodstock had become the site of generational cultural warfare. Long-time residents of the community were upset by the appearance of “unsavory types” in their midst for whom the village had become a mecca. The countercultural types who migrated to Woodstock, including Bob Dylan, the Band, Janis Joplin and members of her band, and members of Blood, Sweat, and Tears, came because of the community’s art colony past, its countercultural present of expanding “head shops” (one owned by Lang), coffee houses and folk festivals, its quaintness, and the beauty of its surroundings. Though he tried Michael Lang could not sell the idea of a festival to the residents of the village. Upon discovering that a large rock and roll festival was being planned for their community residents turned to local politicians and lawyers to make sure that the rock festival would not take place in their village. The village board passed health, safety, and traffic regulations basically putting the festival out of business before it had even begun. [3]

In response Lang, Roberts, Kornfeld, and Rosenman tried to rent land in nearby Saugerties on which to hold the concert. After organizers negotiated with a local landowner for what they called the “perfect site”, that land owner backed out of the deal. Lang saw this as a result of the controversies that were following the festival organizers wherever they went. The residents and town fathers of Saugerties were no more sympathetic to a rock festival that would draw hippies and what they saw as the inevitable health, sanitation, traffic, and safety problems associated with it to their town anymore than the citizens and village fathers of Woodstock had been. [4]

“Get out of Wallkill”
By mid-July Woodstock Ventures had relocated to the town of Wallkill. Festival organizers rented two hundred acres of land just off a two-lane road in the Mills Industrial Park for $10,000. The area had been cleared in preparation for the construction of an industrial park in the community. A number of those involved in organizing the festival weren’t all that taken with the property since, among other things, there was no water available on site since the land for the industrial park was still in the early stages of development. While Lang kept looking for an alternative site, construction of festival facilities began with haste since the festival was scheduled for a mid-August date and it was already July. [5]

As in Woodstock community response in Wallkill was quick. There was concern that the festival might be held at the same time as the Orange County fair causing serious traffic problems. A Concerned Citizens Committee chaired by Frank Jennings, expressed concern about the loud music, pot smoking, and traffic the festival would bring and obtained 500 names on a petition opposing holding the festival in Wallkill. John Birchers from nearby Middletown also strongly expressed their opposition to the festival. [6]

Woodstock Ventures responded to these concerns in a variety of ways. Community relations specialist John Ganoung preached a couple of sermons in local churches and tried to arrange softball games between members of the community and members of the Woodstock Ventures work crew preparing the site for the upcoming concert. Festival leaders made visits to local residents to talk with them about their fears and concerns and invited locals out to the site to watch work on it progress. [7]

These attempts at community relations had little positive impact, however, as Wallkill’s leaders passed regulations whose effect was to make it impossible for the festival to be held in their town. Wallkill attorney Joseph Owen, acting as a special counselor for the town, with the aid of a Newburgh law firm, drew up an ordinance that was quickly enacted and mandated that festival sponsors petition the Wallkill zoning board for permission to hold the festival in the town. The ordinance also directed that organizers present, along with this petition, an estimate of the number of concertgoers they expected to attend the festival, outlines of their parking plan, their proposed security measures, and the sewage, water, food, and sanitation facilities they would install. The ordinance also required the promoters to submit evidence of a $500,000 property-damage bond and a one million dollar life insurance policy. Finally, it placed restrictions on noise levels at the festival. [8]

On 14 July, festival organizers submitted their petition to the Wallkill zoning board. After a stormy four-hour public hearing the board denied the festival organizers petition, citing the inadequacy of local facilities, the fact that the temporary facilities being constructed at the festival site contravened local ordinances, and the fact that the owner of the property, Howard Mills, not Woodstock Ventures, had to apply for the permit. [9]

Woodstock Ventures felt betrayed. They believed they had a verbal agreement with village officials to hold the festival in Wallkill. Festival organizers defiantly declared that they would hold the festival anyway despite a recently passed ordinance which mandated fines and possible sentences for its violation. They also threatened to take legal action against the village of Wallkill strongly emphasizing that they did not recognize the right of the zoning board to deny the organizers petition. Despite all the bluster, as an ad Woodstock Ventures placed in the Village Voice caricaturing the “rednecks” of Wallkill admitted, Woodstock had been run out of town again and there was nothing organizers could do about it other than to find a new site on which they might hold the festival. [10]

“Now at White Lake”
According to Woodstock Ventures employee Stanley Goldstein, Bethel town board records, and the memoirs of Elliot Tiber, it was Elliot Tiber, a Sullivan County hotel owner and gay man, who first proposed Sullivan County to the festival promoters as a place where they might hold their festival. According to Goldstein, Tiber wanted to use the festival as the foundation for an art colony to restore economic health to a county in economic decline. After Woodstock Ventures expressed an interest in Tiber’s proposal he met with the town board on 1 July to discuss bringing the festival to Bethel during the last week of August or the first week of September and what that would entail. [11]

Soon afterward Woodstock Ventures made their presentation to town, zoning, and planning boards of the town. The New York Times reported that while residents expressed concerns about the festival, these concerns were satisfactorily addressed by the organizers. Town clerk Fred Obermeyer said that while the festival had not been officially cleared by town officials he expected no problems in doing so once Woodstock Ventures presented evidence that they had taken out a three million dollar insurance policy to protect the town against potential expenditures and damage. By 24 July, according to the Monticello Republican Watchman, both the town and zoning boards had given their approval for the festival. [12]

Members of the Bethel zoning board, however, were not so sure that the festival had been approved. They sent a letter to the Republican Watchman on 7 August indicating that they had not given approval for the festival despite newspaper claims to the contrary. Minutes from the zoning board of appeals dated 31 July 1969 printed in the Republican Watchman indicate that the zoning board had no knowledge of the festival until the 21 July town board meeting. According to zoning board records, no minutes of this meeting were recorded nor was there any vote. Nevertheless, it was after this meeting that the go ahead for the festival was given. Since there was no vote and since no zoning board member acting in any official capacity approved the festival, zoning board members argued that they had not approved the festival and that they were in no way responsible for what followed. [13]

There was confusion between the town and zoning boards as to whether zoning board approval was necessary for the festival to take place in the first place. In 1969 the zoning board was a relatively novel phenomenon in Bethel town politics and its range of action was unclear especially to members of the town board, the traditional power broker in Bethel town. To zoning board members their authority was clear. They believed they had to issue a special permit to festival promoters before the concert could be held. In the zoning board minutes of 31 July 1969 they condemned the town board for not allowing them to carry out their legal duties of issuing a special permit to the festival promoters and then holding a public hearing on that permit. The town board, on the other hand, was not so sure zoning board approval was necessary. [14]

This territorial squabbling came to a head at a heated meeting of the town board on 1 August 1969. At that meeting the opposition of a number of Bethel leaders to the festival became clear. Richard Joyner, member of the zoning board, presented a petition to the town board containing 322 signatures of town citizens opposed to the festival. At the same meeting Milton Cobert, president of the Civic Association of Smallwood, an organization whose opposition to the festival and those who allowed it became particularly apparent in the months after the festival, asked members of the town board whether a building permit had been issued to Woodstock Ventures allowing the construction of a stadium. Highway Superintendent Clark said that no such permit had been issued. Concerns were also expressed about health, sanitation, and traffic problems related to the festival. Supervisor Amatucci said that he would consult the town attorney to see if a stop order had to be issued against the festival organizers because of their lack of a building permit. Additionally, Amatucci agreed to take legal action or to seek an injunction against Woodstock Ventures for their violation of zoning laws, if the law required it. Eventually Amatucci and other members of the town board as well as the Town Attorney, Frederick Schadt, came to the conclusion that no special permit was necessary. According to them nothing in the zoning laws prohibited the use of Max Yasgur’s farm for the Aquarian festival. This decision also meant that a public meeting on the festival was also unnecessary. [15]

With approval of the concert festival organizers began to arrive in Bethel by late July. They set up their headquarters in an old telephone building in the Village of White Lake in the town of Bethel, the village closest to the festival site, and began to plan for an expected influx of one hundred and fifty thousand for the three day gathering. [16]

Woodstock Ventures was well aware of the controversies and upon arriving in town attempted to court the goodwill of the town and its leaders. On 4 August they donated $10,000 dollars to the Bethel Medical Center’s building fund. They also addressed community concerns about sanitation, health, and food. At a 28 July meeting in Bethel between Woodstock Ventures, a State Health Department official, area law enforcement officials, and a representative of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Woodstock Ventures submitted a preliminary report (the Preliminary Plan) evaluating water, sewage disposal, trash, and environmental needs. In addition Food for Love, Inc., Woodstock Venture’s food service vendor, submitted a report identifying its foodservice needs while William Abruzzi, a physician retained by Woodstock Ventures, drew up plans for the medical facilities at the exposition. As a result of this meeting and the submission of the preliminary report, the festival organizers were given a permit by the State Board of Health Officer for the Oneonta district to operate a temporary residence on the Yasgur farm. [17]

Festival organizers now turned to other matters. They attempted to address local concerns about potential damages to the community, safety, and potential traffic problems. They took out bonding and insurance coverage to protect the town of Bethel, the general public, and the Yasgur farm from costs associated with potential damage. They made arrangements with the New York City Police Department to hire 346 of its off-duty police officers to “usher” or provide security at the festival. Lastly, they made plans to keep traffic flowing and to deal with space needed to park cars, trucks, and vans that brought festival goers to White Lake. All of these plans were based on a projected attendance of 50,000 people per day. [18]

Despite these preparations local opposition to the festival did not diminish. Max Yasgur’s wife, Miriam, recalled that a sign that appeared just prior to the exposition urged town residents not to buy the milk from her “hippie loving” husband. Moreover, opponents, failing in their effort to use special permit/public meeting provision in Bethel town laws to stop the festival, decided to take legal action against it. They brought an injunction against Woodstock Ventures and the town board of Bethel in order to try to stop the festival. On 12 August opponents of the festival withdrew their injunction when it became clear that they would not win their suit. The judge sitting the case, Justice George Cobb, issued a statement indicating that the parties had, at least for the moment, resolved their differences. The festival was now a fait accompli. [19]

While opponents of the festival received the most attention in the press, not everyone in Sullivan County was opposed to the concert. Two influential groups, the Catskill Resort Association and the Bethel Business Association, came to the festivals rhetorical aid arguing that it would bring much needed money and tourism to a town and county experiencing economic difficulties. [20]

“Three days of peace and music”
The Woodstock festival began inauspiciously. On 14 August the New York City policemen the promoters thought they had arranged to “usher” at the festival were denied permission to “moonlight” by Police Commissioner Howard Leary who claimed that this would violate city ordinances against working another job at the same time as they were doing their law enforcement duties. Additionally, one hundred buses hired to shuttle festival goers from outlying parking areas to the festival grounds free of charge, never materialized. Last but not least, far more than the expected 150,000 showed up in White Lake. During the “three days of peace and music somewhere between 250,000 and 750,000 concertgoers came to Bethel seeking a countercultural utopia. [21]

Neither the festival organizers nor the town of Bethel could handle such a large influx of people. Traffic into the festival grounds was backed up for miles. As a result festival goers abandoned their cars and walked or hitch-hiked to Yasgur’s farm. Areas set aside for campgrounds were unable to accommodate all the festival goers. Squatters began to camp anywhere they could near the festival site on land without water, waste disposal, and sanitary facilities. They left garbage in their wake, crushed crops beneath their feet, and swam and bathed in ponds utilized by local cattle for their water needs.

The massive numbers of concertgoers also put a strain on food supplies at the festival. Food acquired on estimates of a projected crowd of 150,000 was not sufficient for a crowd of 200,000 to 750,000. Medical facilities were swamped. Pumps set up to extract water from the ground occasionally failed under the strain. Eventually, dairy trucks were acquired and used as water containers. Traffic congestion made it virtually impossible for the portable toilets to be emptied of their contents. It was, in many ways what Bert Feldman who was there said it was, “chaos.” [22]

Despite all of this a type of order developed out of this “chaos”. The citizens of Sullivan County, the promoters, and the festival goers generally responded to a difficult situation with compassion, kindness, good will, and even humor. Many residents near the festival grounds gave water, food, parking space, and camping space to those who had come to experience Woodstock. The Jewish Community Center in Monticello provided food to concertgoers. The local Red Cross gave them blankets. Residents with first aid experience moved to help the overtaxed medical facilities at the festival grounds and in nearby Monticello deal with the sick and injured. Temporary shelters and first aid facilities were set up in a school in Monticello by that city’s hospital. [23] The crisis also brought out the best in the festival promoters. They turned Woodstock into a free concert fearing that the crush of concertgoers at the gates might end in tragedy. They also obtained helicopters to fly out the ill since traffic congestion made ambulance transport via roadways virtually impossible. [24]

The “hippies” many of the residents feared, turned out, in many cases, to be kind, polite, willing to pitch in and help in whatever way they could. Many residents were able to overcome their prejudices about the longhaired, ragged, and “peculiarly dressed” individuals they had heard so much about, but had rarely seen. Several letters in local newspapers after the festival repeat over and over again that meeting “hippies” and seeing first hand how polite and kind they were, changed their minds about these American “drop-outs.” This made such an impression on local resident Beatrice Schoch that she recalled years later how the festival goers had helped her and her husband clean up the trash from their yard after the concert was over. [25]

Not all letters to the editor of local newspapers shared this more positive attitude of the festival experience and the festival goers, however. Edward Engel and Louis Mrani, both neighbors of Max Yasgur, referring to the stench and garbage left in the wake of the concert, wrote that the festival was a “COLOSSAL BLUNDER” foisted upon the community by “‘peanut politicians’ and ‘greedy businessmen’”. Several opponents of the festival asserted that those who brought the festival to Bethel conspired to do so in the name of the “Almighty Dollar”. Letter writers agreed that what the festival brought to Bethel was “filth”, drugs, nudity, property damage, and the debasement of town politics. [26]

Those who defended the festival pointed to the exemplary behavior of the concert goers as well as to the economic potential such a gathering offered to Sullivan County. In a letter to the editor, Mac Gordon, proprietor of the local hotel the Monticello Inn, noted how well behaved the hippies were and how some of them who stayed at his establishment even made their beds before they departed. Monticello realtor L. B. Stratton noted the tranquil and peaceful behavior of the concert goers. All that was needed in the future, claimed those who defended the festival, was better planning to take care of the sanitation, traffic, health, and food supply problems. Some, like Monticello’s Art Silverman, owner and editor of the Republican Watchman, were even willing to overlook marijuana use if the festival were to become an annual event bringing money into Sullivan County. [27]

This division in how local residents and politicians perceived the festival came to a head at the 25 August meeting of the Sullivan County Board of Supervisors. This stormy meeting, originally called to hear information concerning a request for taxi, bus, and limousine licensing at the Sullivan County Airport, turned into a debate between opponents and proponents of the Aquarian Exposition. On one side stood John Eschenberg, Delaware Town Supervisor, and Carl Behling, Tusten Town Supervisor, both critical of the festival. On the other stood Bethel supervisor Daniel Amatucci, one of those most responsible for bringing the concert to White Lake, Forestburg Supervisor Vincent Galligan, Thompson Supervisor Ralph Meyers, Rockland Supervisor Cecil Steward, and Fallsburg Supervisor Morty Michaels. Eschenberg and Behling were critical of drug use at the festival the former referring to it as morally wrong. They, along with Coshecton Supervisor and Sullivan County Board of Supervisors chairman, Steven Sletka, called for an investigation of the festival. Amatucci defended the festival by suggesting that, “these kids need love, not to be shoved into the ocean”. Michael’s, while stressing that he did not condone the use of drugs, pointed to the economic boon the festival brought and further festivals could bring to the county. [28]

Politicians and businessmen throughout the county spoke out for or against the festival. Conservative Party candidate Robert Page and Sondra Bauernfeind condemned the drug use and nudity at the “exposition”, while Seymour Kreiger, executive secretary of the Catskill Resort Association, supported it and wanted a repeat performance.

“A Colossal Blunder?”
The conflict was not limited to Sullivan County politicians and businessman. Numerous residents of both Bethel town and Sullivan County also strongly opposed the festival. Many of those most strongly opposed to it were neighbors of Max Yasgur who believed they had suffered serious crop, cattle, and home losses as a result of the festival. Herman Reinshagen (a member of the Bethel zoning board), his wife Minerva, Roy and Dolores Gabriel, all close neighbors of the Yasgur’s and all of whom became strong opponents of the festival, took out an advertisement in the Republican Watchman with Abe Wagner, Burton Lemmon, Richard Joyner (a member of the Bethel zoning board), Bert Feldman, Louis Komachek, and Charlotte Levine expressing their displeasure with the concert and those who allowed it. “What can a hippie contribute to our community,” their ad asked rhetorically in bold letters. It answered ‘Hypocrisy, Insubordination, Pornography, Pollution, Impudency, and Effusiveness”, in short, HIPPIE. [29]

This advertisement was taken out in the context of a highly contested Bethel Town Supervisor race. Incumbent Daniel Amatucci was once again running against George Neuhaus, the man he had unseated in 1967. Immediately after the festival ended the Monticello Evening News asked what affect the concert would have on Amatucci’s candidacy that November. The answer to this question was not long in coming. Political opponents began to attack him for his support of the festival. The Conservative Party of Sullivan County, for instance, condemned the drug use at the festival through its chairman Robert C. Page. The Conservatives also decided to run a candidate for town supervisor, restaurant owner Troy Dauch of Mongaup Valley. This action was viewed as important by the local press since the Conservative Party had not run a candidate in 1967 throwing its support instead behind Amatucci. By running its own candidate this time the Conservative Party played a crucial role in the upcoming election. [30]

The Conservatives were not the only group to come out against Amatucci and the festival. In the heat of the campaign the Civic Association of Smallwood and their president, Milton Cobert, took out an advertisement in the Evening News detailing how the festival came to Bethel. He closed the ad by urging the voters of Bethel to “cast their ballots in favor of candidates opposing present town board members seeking re-election...” And, of course, Amatucci’s Republican opponent, George Neuhaus, was strongly opposed to a repeat of the Woodstock Festival. [31]

Another blow to Amatucci’s campaign occurred when most of the Roman Catholic clergy of Sullivan County issued a letter strongly condemning the nudity, drug use, alcohol abuse, public sex acts, and politically subversive aspects of the festival. While noting the need for tourism in Sullivan County, the priests said that they doubted that the profits made from such a gathering were worth the “moral degeneration” such a festival bred. [32]

Amatucci’s attempt to gain re-election thus took place in a highly charged atmosphere in which he faced both overt and implied opposition to his candidacy from political figures and religious leaders. While he was supported by both the Republican Watchman and the Liberty Register, the Evening News backed his opponent. In the end he could not shake the Woodstock albatross around his neck. He lost by ten votes to Neuhaus. [33]

Opposition to the festival was not confined to electoral politics. Sullivan County District Attorney Louis H. Shcheinman began investigating possible criminal activity at the Woodstock Festival in September of 1969. By October he presented his findings to a grand jury. The Grand Jury concluded its inquiry by announcing that it could find no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and refused to hand down any indictments. [34]

Residents who had property damages resulting from the festival contemplated legal action against Woodstock Ventures to try to recover losses they felt they had suffered as a result of the festival. The first legal action had been taken during the festival itself when Leon Greenberg, owner of the Monticello Speedway, filed a lawsuit to recover damages he suffered. He withdrew this lawsuit after the mess on his property was cleaned up and the damages were repaired by Woodstock Ventures. There were also other cases. According to Joel Rosenman, one of the festival’s co-producers, Woodstock Ventures settled one or two cases out of court. The rest were either dropped or won by the corporation. [35]

The festival had an impact on local legislation. As a result of the concert Bethel enacted a law on “Assemblies and Mass Gatherings” in March of 1970. The new regulations specified that an official permit was required for any forthcoming festival. It laid out the specifics for obtaining such a permit, the processes that led to approval of a permit, and the conditions for the issuance of a permit. In the new law the town board of Bethel required those applying for a permit to obtain the approval of the New York State Health Department, the Town Health Officer, the New York State Water Resources Commission, the Sullivan County Highway Department, the New York State Department of Transportation, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police, the Chief Engineer of the controlling Fire District, the Fire Commissioners of the controlling Fire District, the Fire Advisory Board of Sullivan County, and finally the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Building Inspector. Those contemplating a mass gathering in the town of Bethel now had to have plans for sewage disposal, water storage and distribution, parking, the type and location of sound equipment, trash removal, security, and fire protection. Each of these had to be approved by the specific governmental body responsible for each of these areas. Lastly, the new regulations specified the amount of insurance and bonds festival promoters would need. Interestingly, the new law clarified the roles the town board and the zoning board of appeals played in the issuance of the permit. The zoning board was given the power to approve the “type, number, and location of any sound producing equipment.” It also, in concert with the town board, had the right to approve outdoor lights, signs, camping facilities, and housing facilities. [36]

The festival not only impacted local laws. It also had an effect on state politics and state legislation. At the prompting of Woodstock Assemblyman H. Clark Bell, State Commissioner of Health Hollis S. Ingram ordered an investigation of the festival. The report described the food, sanitation, water, shelter, sewage, and garbage disposal plans made for the festival and the problems that arose in each of these areas due to the influx of significantly more festival goers than were expected. This led, in turn, the New York State Legislature, then Governor Nelson Rockefeller, and the New York State Health Department to amend section 225 of the Public Health Law in May 1970. The amendment stipulated that mass gatherings would be allowed only if promoters provided satisfactory water supply, toilet and lavatory facilities, sleeping areas, food and sanitation service, medical facilities, insect and noxious weed control, fire protection, and “other matters...appropriate for security of life and health.” Finally, the amendment made clear the nature of the bonds festival promoters had to obtain, mandated that traffic flow had to be ensured in the areas around the exposition, and specified the time frame which festival promoters had to obtain a permit from the State Health Department. [37]

“And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden...”
The Woodstock Festival left a trail of political, economic, and cultural fallout in its wake. While it did bring money into Sullivan County it severely divided the community politically and culturally. On one side were many businessmen, newspapermen, local politicians, and residents who hoped to make the festival an annual event. They believed it would give a much needed financial boost to Sullivan County. On the other were other businessmen, local politicians, and residents who hoped that another festival would never come to Sullivan County again.

Both proponents and opponents of the festival shared concerns about health, sanitation, water food, sewage, and traffic preparations for the festival. Proponents generally believed these problems could be addressed. Opponents used them as ways to oppose the festival without playing the hippies, sex, drugs, and rock and roll moral panic card.

For some of the proponents their advocacy of the festival was not solely based on the economic benefits the festival might bring. Both Daniel Amatucci and Max Yasgur said that the youth who came to the festival needed “love” and help, not criticism and ostracism. Both Amatucci and Yasgur seem to have been genuinely concerned with young people. In a statement after the festival ended, Yasgur suggests that if the “kids” are ostracized and criticized they will continue to turn toward drugs and radical political organizations. Emphasizing that festival goers were well behaved and how good these kids were deep down inside, Yasgur pointed out that the older generation must try to understand the counterculture if the younger generation is to be kept safe from the subversive politics and subversive activities such as socialism, communism, free sex, and drug use infiltrating American youth culture . Some of the proponents of the festival, then, framed their economic support of the festival in moral terms: bringing the festival back to Sullivan County would not only have financial benefits but it would have moral benefits as well. By allowing the “kids” to hold the festival outsiders would gain an understanding of the “kids” and it would save them from the depths and the degeneracy of drugs and radical politics. For some proponents of the festival, then, the exposition made possible the political and cultural salvation of America’s young. [38]

Though festival opponents phrased their negative assessment of the exposition in moral terms as well, their moral discourse was very different from those who favored the festival. Opponents saw nudity, drug use, public sex, and mounds of garbage left in the wake of the festival as evidence of the moral degeneracy of “hippie” character. Along with many other Americans, they perceived the “hippies” as a danger to the moral health of American society. They believed that if this moral decline continued amongst America’s young, the United States was lost. [39]

Like proponents of the festival many opponents saw a link between hippie violations of America’s mainstream sex and dress codes, drug use, and subversive politics. In their letter Sullivan County’s Roman Catholic clergy make this explicit. Contradicting Amatucci and Yasgur local Catholic clergy argued that you could not break the link between subversive politics, sex, drugs, and rock and roll by allowing a rock festival. Instead of weakening these links rock concerts like Woodstock strengthened these connections and led to a break down of public morality. Salvation from this behavior would come not through a rock festival, they argued, but through character reform. By advocating and allowing the festival and promoting additional ones, opponents of the festival charged, proponents were sacrificing public morality to the gods of mammon. [40]

All sides then saw the Woodstock Festival in moral terms. Some proponents framed the festival in terms of the need for economic revitalization of the county. They were willing to turn a blind eye to free sex, drug use, rock and roll, and radical politics at the festival as long as it restored the economic health of the community. For them, a healthy economy was essential to a healthy community. The festival was thus a social and moral good. Other proponents saw it as a way to bring together the generations as well as a means to combat drug abuse and radical politics. Opponents, on the other had, saw the festival and its sex, drugs, and rock and roll morality as representative of the very things that were destroying America itself. As James Davison Hunter has noted with respect to contemporary culture wars, all sides engaged in this ideological warfare used the same terms but gave them very different meanings. They spoke by each other not to each other. [41]

Sociologist James Davison Hunter emphasizes the elite nature of cultural wars. The cultural war over the Woodstock Festival in Bethel and Sullivan County was certainly, in large part, an elite affair. The 1960s culture war in a small community upstate New York divided political and business elites (religious elites by and large opposed the festival as far as I can tell). But it also divided the citizens of the communities impacted and affected by it. And the reactions citizens had to the festival, whether pro or con, were not that different from how Americans at large reacted to hippies, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Some were appalled by the counterculture (a not so silent majority?). Others may not have liked every aspect of the counterculture but, like Amatucci and Yasgur, were willing to allow the kids to have their fun. Opponents of the festival, on the other hand, saw Woodstock as something to be forgotten or as Dolores Gabriel put it, something that was “hysterical not historical”. [42]

End Notes:

1. I would like to thank the Town of Bethel, New York, Rita Sheehan, the New York State Library, the New York State Archives, James D. Folts, Dick Andress, and Bill Evans of the New York State Archives, Charles Bermpohl, Martin Schwartz, Marlene Burr, Bea Schoch, H. Clark Bell, Fred Shoch, Bert Feldman, Dolores Gabriel, John Eschenbach, Joseph Owen, Susan Lewis, M.J. Heisey, Robert Dykstra, Gerald Zahavi, and Mary Linnane for their help in the research and writing of this paper. All mistakes in this paper are, of course, my own. A version of this paper was presented at the 2009 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference, New Orleans, 8 to 11 April.

2. For the information in this section of the paper I am heavily indebted to Richard Reeves, “Mike Lang (groovy kid from Brooklyn) Plus John Roberts (unlimited capital) Equals Woodstock.” New York Times Magazine, 7 September 1969 and Joel Makower, Woodstock: The Oral History (New York: Doubleday, 1989).

3. New York Times, 9 July 1969, pp. 45, 87; Makower, Woodstock; New York Times, 9 July 1969, pp. 45, 87; and H. Clark Bell, telephone interview, Woodstock, NY and Albany, NY, 19 April 1996, conducted by the author.

4. Makower, Woodstock.

5. Joseph Owen, telephone interview with the author, Wallkill, New York and Albany, NY, 27 April 1996; New York Times, 17 July 1969, p. 56; 18 July 1969, p. 16; 23 July 1969, p. 30; Albany, (NY) Times-Union, 13 July 1969, sec. B, p. 2; 17 July 1969, p. 4; p. 18 July 1969, p. 4; 18 July 1969, p. 4; John Roberts, interview by Joel Makower in Makower, Woodstock, p. 91.

6. Makower, Woodstock and New York Times, 18 July 1969, p.16. Lee Blumer, an aide to Woodstock’s head of security Wes Pomeroy, recalled that her boss feared that John Birchers might resort to violence to drive the festival out of Wallkill.

7. Makower, Woodstock.

8. Albany, (NY) Times-Union, 13 July 1969, sec. B, p. 2. and Makower, Woodstock.

9. Albany, (N.Y) Times-Union, 17 July 1969, p. 4; 18 July 1969, p. 4; 23 July 1969, p. 3; New York Times, 17 July 1969, p. 56; 8 July 1969, p. 16; 23 July 1969, p. 30. In an interview Joseph Owens said that if the organizers had met each of these criteria, the festival would have been allowed to proceed in Wallkill; Joseph Owen, telephone interview with the author, Wallkill, NY and Albany, NY, 27 April 1996. John Roberts felt that the constitutional rights of Woodstock Ventures had been violated; John Roberts, interview with Joel Makower in Makower, Woodstock, p. 100.

10. Joseph Owen, telephone interview with the author, Wallkill, NY and Albany, NY, 27 April 1996. Albany, (NY) Times-Union, 17 July 1969, p 4; Albany, (NY) Times-Union, 17 July 1969, p. 4; 18 July 1969, p. 4; 20 July 1969, sec. B, p. 1; 23 July 1969, p. 3; New York Times, 17 July 1969, p. 56; 18 July 1969, p. 16; 23 July 1969, p. 30; Village Voice, 24 July 1969, p. 22, and Makower, Woodstock. Makower reproduces the ad on page 124. Woodstock Ventures eventually dropped the lawsuit deciding that they couldn’t win it.

11. Minutes of the Town of Bethel, 1 July 1969, Town Hall, Village of White Lake, Town of Bethel, Sullivan County, NY. Stanley Goldstein, interviewed by Joel Makower in Makower; Woodstock, pp. 113-114; Bill Ward, interviewed by Joel Makower in Makower; Woodstock, p. 114; Mel Lawrence, interviewed by Joel Makower in Makower, Woodstock, p. 115; Elliot Tiber, Knock on Woodstock: The Uproarious Uncensored Story of the Woodstock Festival, the Gay Man Who Made it Happen, and How He Got His Ticket Free (New York: Joel Friedlander, 1994).

12. New York Times, 23 July 1969, p. 30 and Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 24 July 1969, pp. 1, 8.

13. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 7 April 1969, p. 6.

14. Monticello (NY) Evening News, 13 November 1969, p. 4 and Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 7 April 1969, p. 6. At the insistence of the zoning board the zoning board minutes were read into the town board Minutes of 1 August. See the Minutes of the Town Board of Bethel, 1 August 1969, Town Hall, Village of White Lake, town of Bethel, Sullivan County, NY.

15. The ad can be found in the Monticello (NY) Evening News, 23 October 1969, on p. 3. Smallwood is a hamlet in the town of Bethel. Also see the Liberty (NY) Register, 7 August 1969, p. 5.

16. Liberty (NY) Register, 24 July 1969, p. 1; 7 August 1969, p. 1, 5; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 24 July 1969, p. 1. New York Times, 23 July 1969, p. 30 reports that a crowd of two hundred thousand was expected. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 7 August 1969, p. 8; Liberty (NY) Register, 7 August 1969, p. 5.

17. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 7 August 1969, p. 8; Liberty (NY) Register, 7 August 1969, p. 5; “Preliminary Report, Woodstock Ventures, Inc.,” Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file. This document was received by the Middletown subdivision of the New York State Health Department on 5 August 1969; “Foodservice Projections for White Lake Music Festival”, Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; “Summary and Recommendations,” Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; Dr. Abruzzi, “A White Lake Happening”, Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; “Summary and Recommendations”, Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; and “Summary and Recommendations,” Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; “Preliminary Report, Woodstock Ventures, Inc.,” Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file.

18. “Summary and Recommendations,” Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; “Preliminary Report, Woodstock Ventures, Inc.,” Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file.

19. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 14 August 1969, p. 1; Liberty (NY) Register, 14 August 1969, p. 1; New York Times, 13 August 1969, p. 38. Makower, Woodstock. In an interview with me Bert Feldman (Bert Feldman, telephone interview conducted by the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996) said that he was one of the citizens who filed an injunction trying to get the festival stopped just prior to the opening day of the exposition.

20. Liberty (NY) Register, 7 August 1969, p. 5.

21. New York Times, 15 August 1969, p. 22; Albany (NY) Knickerbocker News and Union-Star, 15 August 1969, 1, sec. A, p. 7; Albany (NY) Times-Union, 15 August 1969, p. 1; and Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, p. 4.
My interpretation of the festival is based on the following sources: Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, pp. 1-6; Monticello (NY)Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 4, 8; Monticello, (NY) Evening News, 21 August, pp. 1-3, 5, 7, sec. 2, p. 1; Charles Bermpohl, telephone interview conducted by the author, Washington, D.C. and Albany, NY, 13 April 1996; Bert Feldman, telephone interview conducted by the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996; Beatrice and Fred Shoch, interview conducted by the author, Bethel, NY, 19 April 1996.

22. Bert Feldman, interview with the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996. Information on the festival's health difficulties derives from Dr. William Abruzzi, “A White Lake Happening”, Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file. Information on the food, sanitation, water, and environmental problems comes from, Mr Lieber (of the Monticello Sub-district office of the New York State Department of Health), “Report on Activities During the Woodstock Music and Art Festival, Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file.

23. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, p. 1, 4, 8; Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, p. 1-2, 4-6; Monticello (N,Y.) Evening News, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 2, 3, 5; and Beatrice and Fred Schoch, interview with the author, Town of Bethel, 19 April 1996.

24. Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, p. 4; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 8. Of course, festival promoters may have simply been facing up to reality: the crowd was so large that there was no way of keeping them out of the festival grounds thereby forcing them to buy tickets. They were, after all, surging against the fences built to keep non-ticket holders out of the festival grounds and bringing them down.

25. Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 4; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 4, 8 and 28 August 1969, p. 6, (letters to the editor expressing positive views of the festival); Monticello (NY) Evening News, 21 August 1969, pp. 5; and Beatrice and Fred Schoch, interview conducted by the author, Town of Bethel, 19 April 1969.

26. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, p. 4; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 28 August 1969, p. 4; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 4 September 1969, p. 4; Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, p. 3; Liberty (NY) Register, 4 September 1969, p. 3 (which contains Eugenie Dowling’s letter from which the quote is taken). Both Beatrice Schoch (Beatrice Schoch, interview conducted by the author, Bethel, NY and Albany, NY, 19 April 1996).and Bert Feldman (Bert Feldman, telephone interview conducted by the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996) noted the large amount of garbage left after the festival ended. Unfortunately, no data is available as to the amount of garbage taken away from the festival since the Bethel Landfill, the location to which the refuse was taken, did not keep records at the time.

27. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, p. 4; 28 August 1969, p. 4; and Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 4 September 1969, p. 4. Those letters to the editor that represent a positive view of the festival are found only in the Republican Watchman. The owner-editor of this newspaper, Art Sugarman, was a proponent of annual festivals if these were well planned. There were no pro-festival letters in the Liberty Register. Both newspapers supported Daniel Amatucci for Bethel Town Supervisor in the election that fall. Not surprisingly Eschenberg, one of the supervisors most opposed to the festival, was generally critical of the media coverage of the event. I tried to interview Mr. Silverman. He said, however, he was “unable to help me”.

28. I have relied on the Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 28 August 1969, pp. 1, 4, 8, the Monticello (NY) Evening News, 28 August 1969, pp. 1-2, and the Liberty (NY) Register, 28 August, pp. 1, 4 for details of this meeting. The full text of Amatucci’s statement can be found in the Liberty (NY) Register, pp. 1, 4.

29. Miriam Yasgur in Makower, Woodstock, pp. 327-328; Bert Feldman, telephone interview conducted by the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996; Republican Watchman, 16 October 1969, p. 6 (the ad); and Dolores Gabriel, telephone interview conducted by the author, Bethel, NY and Albany, NY, 20 April 1996. Bert Feldman initially was an opponent of the festival but eventually became a proponent of it after, he said, recognizing its historical importance. He was town historian of Bethel when I spoke to him. Many of those who opposed the festival will not talk at all about if. If they do discuss it and its aftermath, they do so only in limited terms.

30. Monticello (N.Y,) Evening News, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 7; Monticello (N.Y,) Evening News, 28 August 1969, pp. 1, 2; Monticello (N.Y,) Evening News, 13 November 1969, p. 4; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 28 August 1969, pp. 8.

31. Monticello (NY) Evening News, 23 October 1969, p. 3 (quote). Bert Feldman (Bert Feldman, interview with the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996) recalled that Neuhaus opposed any attempts by Bethel to memorialize the festival.

32. Liberty (NY) Register, 2 October 1969, pp. 1, 4; Monticello (NY) Evening News, 2 October 1969, p. 8; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 2 October 1969, pp. 1, 8. The letter was reprinted in full in each of these newspapers.

33. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 30 October 1969, p. 4; Liberty (NY) Register, 30 October 1969, p. 4; and Monticello (NY) Evening News, 16 October 1969, sec. 2, p. 1; 13 November 1969, p. 4. Even a tax reduction for fiscal year 1970, a tax reduction prominently advertised in the Monticello (NY) Evening News, 30 October 1969, p. 33, could not save the Amatucci candidacy. The precise number of votes by which Neuhaus defeated Amatucci varies in the newspapers. The Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 6 November, p. 1 says eight; the Monticello (NY) Evening News, 13 November 1969, p. 4, gives ten as the official vote difference between the two. The Liberty (NY) Register, 6 November 1969, p. 1, lists Neuhaus's victory as being by six or eight votes.

34. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 4 September 1969, p. 1 and Liberty (NY) Register, 2 October 1969, p. 1.

35. Joel Rosenman, interview by Joel Makower in Makower, Woodstock. Bert Feldman said in an interview that none of Yasgur's neighbours were compensated for their losses; Bert Feldman, interview with the author, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996.

36. Bethel Code. Assemblies, Public Mass. 28-1. Copy in the Town Hall of Bethel, White Lake, Sullivan County, New York.

37. H. Clark Bell, telephone interview with the author, Woodstock, NY and Albany, NY, 16 April 1996; “Woodstock Festival”. Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file (the full text of the report was reprinted in full in the Monticello, (NY) Republican Watchman, 9 October 1969, pp. 1, sec. 2, p. 2); “News Release”. Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner's Office. Subject Files of the Commissioner's Office. 1952-1977. Mass Gatherings file; and “Memorandum to Doctor Whalen from Doctor Thompson”. Mass Gatherings file.

38. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, p. 4; Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, pp. 1, 4 (Yasgur’s press conference speech); and Monticello (NY) Evening News, 28 August 1969, p. 4 (Amatucci’s statement).

39. Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, p. 3; 4 September 1969, p. 3 ; 2 October 1969, pp. 1, 4; Monticello (NY) Evening News, 2 October 1969, p. 8; Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, p. 4; 28 August 1969, p. 4; 4 September 1969, p. 4 ; 2 October 1969, pp. 1, 8.

40. Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 21 August 1969, p. 4; 28 August 1969, p. 4; 4 September 1969, p. 4; 2 October 1969, pp. 1, 8; Liberty (NY) Register, 21 August 1969, p. 3; 4 September 1969, p. 3; 2 October 1969, pp. 1, 4; Monticello (NY) Evening News, 2 October 1969, p. 8, Monticello (NY) Republican Watchman, 2 October, p. 1, 8.

41. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: Making Sense of the Battles over Family, Art, Education, Law, and Politics (New York: Basic, 1991).

42. James Davison Hunter, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America (New York City: Basic Books, 1991) and Dolores Gabriel, telephone interview conducted by the author, Bethel, NY and Albany, NY.

Bibliography:

Primary Source Material
Governmental sources:
Minutes of the Town of Bethel 4 January 1960 to 29 December 1970. Holdings in the Town Hall, village of White Lake, town of Bethel, Sullivan County, NY
[State of New York.] Department of Health. Executive Division. Commissioner’s Office Subject File. Files of the Commissioner’s Office. 1952-1977. Holdings in the New York State Archives, Albany, NY. Materials were found in the Mass Gatherings file, box 41.
[State of New York.] Governor Name Files. Rockefeller. 1959-1973. Holdings in the New York State Archives, Albany, NY. All of these are arranged in alphabetical order by the last name of the subject.

Newspaper sources:
Albany, (NY) Times-Union.
Albany, (NY) Knickerbocker-News.
Liberty (NY) Register.
Middletown (NY)Times Herald-Record.
Monticello, (NY) Evening News.
Monticello, (NY) Republican-Watchman.
New York Times.
(New York) Village Voice.

Oral Interviews:
H. Clark Bell; telephone interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Woodstock, NY and Albany, NY ,16 April 1996.
Charlie Bermpohl; telephone interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Washington, DC and Albany, NY, 13 April 1996.
John Eschenberg; telephone interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Sullivan County, NY and Albany, NY, 20 April 1996.
Bert Feldman; telephone interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Mongaup Valley, NY and Albany, NY, 21 April 1996.
Dolores Gabriel; telephone interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Town of Bethel, NY and Albany, NY, 20 April 1996.
Joseph Owen; telephone interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Town of Wallkill, NY and Albany, NY, 27 April 1996.
Beatrice and Fred Schoch; interview conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Town of Bethel, NY, 19 April 1996.
Martin Schwartz; e-mail interviews conducted by Ronald Helfrich, Athens, Ohio and Albany, NY, April 1996.

I have made some use of Joel Makower’s oral history of the Woodstock festival Woodstock: The Oral History (New York: Doubleday, 1989). This book contains interviews Makower did with those connected to the festival, including organizers, lawyers, Max Yasgur’s widow, and others. The interviews are arranged chronologically and provide useful information for anyone interested in the controversies the Festival inspired.

Memoirs:
Elliot Tiber, Knock on Woodstock: The Uproarious Uncensored Story of the Woodstock Festival, the Gay Man Who Made it Happen, and How He Got His Ticket Free (New York: Joel Friedlander, 1994).
Joel Rosemnan, John Roberts, and Robert Pilpel; Young Men with Unlimited Capital (NYC: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974).

Videos
“Woodstock 1969-Home Movie”
“Woodstock 1969-Leaving the Festival”

Secondary Source Material:
Michael Doyle; “Statement on the Historical and Cultural Significance of the 1969 Woodstock Festival Site”, Prepared for Allee King Rosen & Fleming, Inc., on behalf of the Gerry Foundation, Inc., Preliminary Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement - Appendix B, Bethel Performing Arts Center, March 5, 2002.

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