The Woodstock Festival was a three-day concert (later four-day) that involved lots of drugs and rock ‘n roll – plus a lot of mud. The Woodstock Music Festival of 1969 has become an icon of the 1960s hippie counterculture.The very first festival was conducted in August 15-18, 1969 in Max Yasgur‘s dairy farm in the town of Bethel (outside of White Lake, New York).
The first Woodstock Festival was organized by four young men: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, and Mike Lang. The oldest of the four was only 27 years old at the time of the Woodstock Festival.Kornfeld and Lang’s original idea was to build a recording studio and a retreat for rock musicians up in Woodstock, New York . The idea morphed into creating a two-day rock concert with the hope that the concert would raise enough money to pay for the studio.
From the start, there were differences in approach among the four: Roberts was disciplined and knew what was needed for the venture to succeed, while the laid-back Lang saw Woodstock as a new, “relaxed” way of bringing entrepreneurs together.When Lang was unable to find a site for the concert, Roberts and Rosenman, growing increasingly concerned, took to the road and eventually came up with a venue. Similar differences about financial discipline made Roberts and Rosenman wonder whether to pull the plug or to continue pumping money into the project.
The original venue plan was for the festival to take place in Woodstock, New York. After local residents quickly shot down that idea, Lang and Kornfeld thought they had found another possible location in Saugerties, New York. But they had misunderstood, as the landowner’s attorney made clear, in a brief meeting with Roberts and Rosenman.Growing alarmed at the lack of progress, Roberts and Rosenman took over the search for a venue, and discovered the Mills Industrial Park in the town of Wallkill, New York, which Woodstock Ventures leased for $10,000 in the Spring of 1969.Town officials were assured that no more than 50,000 would attend. Town residents immediately opposed the project. In early July, the Town Board passed a law requiring a permit for any gathering over 5,000 people. On July 15, 1969, the Wallkill Zoning Board of Appeals officially banned the concert on the basis that the planned portable toilets would not meet town code.Reports of the ban, however, turned out to be a publicity bonanza for the festival…
The late change in venue did not give the festival organizers enough time to prepare. At a meeting three days before the event, organizers felt they had two options: one was to complete the fencing and ticket booths, without which the promoters were almost certain to lose their shirts , and the other option involved putting their remaining available resources into building the stage, without which the promoters feared they would have a disappointed and disgruntled audience. When the audience began arriving by the tens of thousands, the next day, on Wednesday before the weekend, the decision had been made for them.
The Festival :
On Wednesday, August 13 (two days before the Festival was to begin), there were already approximately 50,000 people camping near the stage. These early arrivals had walked right through the huge gaps in the fence where the gates had not yet been placed. Since there was no way to get the 50,000 people to leave the area in order to pay for tickets and there was no time to erect the numerous gates to prevent even more people from just walking in, the organizers were forced to make the event a free concert.
The news that the festival would be free carried two headaches to the organizers.One was that they would have huge losses in in-coming money..and the other was that the news attracted many more people than it was expected.. It is estimated that about 500,000 people actually made it to the Woodstock Festival.
After the Festival :
The organizers of Woodstock were dazed at the end of the Woodstock Festival. They didn’t have time to focus on the fact that they had created the most popular music event in history, for they first had to deal with their incredible debt (over $1 million) and the 70 lawsuits that had been filed against them.
To their great relief, the film of the Woodstock Festival turned into a hit movie and the profits from the movie covered a large chunk of the debt from the Festival. By the time that everything was paid off, they were still $100,000 in debt..
LOCATION AND HISTORY
Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, USA. The population was estimated at 4,255 in 2010.
The town received worldwide fame after it became the host of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, which was originally planned for Wallkill, NY, but was relocated to Bethel after Wallkill withdrew.
The first settlers arrived around 1795 near the present communities of Bethel and White Lake. The Town of Bethel was established in 1809 from the Town of Lumberland.
By the middle of the 19th century, a tourist industry began to grow. Bethel was home to numerous hotels that were part of the “Borscht Belt” and numerous sleepaway camps for most of the 20th century, including Camp Ma-Ho-Ge, Camp Chipinaw, and Camp Ranger – all on Silver Lake.
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