By the Time We Got to Woodstock

We’ve seen the famous images countless times: the mud, the nudity, the traffic jams, the flower power in full display — and of course the biggest rock and roll performers of a generation. Still, it’s hard to imagine that it was 40 years ago this month that the Woodstock Festival (formally the Woodstock Music and Art Fair) roared onto Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, transforming not only that Sullivan County town but the entire tenor of the country. So let’s go for a fun journey down Memory Lane — and, along the way, take a look at how the charming town of Woodstock laid the roots for this once-in-a-lifetime extravaganza. It’s all cool, man

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Upcoming Concerts

If no concert since the iconic fest in ’69 has been able to satisfy your soul, don’t despair. On August 15, in honor of Woodstock’s 40th anniversary, two Hudson Valley venues serve up a healthy dose of epic rock. Join Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason, iconic blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin, and former Fear Itself frontwoman Ellen McIlwaine at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock for the Roots of Woodstock Live Concert. Hosted by Woodstock Arts, the fund-raiser benefits Zero-Carbon Woodstock, a community carbon-neutrality initiative. For up-to-date lineup and ticket information, visit

Over at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, legends like Jefferson Starship, the Levon Helm Band, and Mountain will congregate for the Heroes of Woodstock show, also on August 15. In the spirit of the original concert’s peace-and-love message, all ticket holders will receive a free soundboard download of the show (to tide you over until the 50th anniversary). Visit for tickets. 

Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival

This book, edited by Weston Blelock and Julia Blelock (and published by Woodstock Arts), sprang out of an August 2008 panel discussion about the impact of the Woodstock Festival. The meeting was held at the Colony Café and featured panelists Michael Lang, promoter of the 1969 festival; Jean Young, coauthor with Lang of Woodstock Festival Remembered; Bill West, a town official in the ’60s; Jeremy Wilber, a local bartender in the ’60s; and musician Paul McMahon. ►


♦ Click on any image in the gallery below for James Shelley’s photo collection of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Got memories of your own? We dig it. Write ’em in the comments box below, or submit photos to (with caption and credit info) to add to our gallery here


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