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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Taking Woodstock photoDirector Ang Lee, with actors Demetri Martin (center) and Paul Dano (right) on the set of Taking Woodstock, a Focus Features release

Photograph by Ken Regan

“Taking Woodstock”

Whether you were actually there, or just wished you were, Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee’s new film Taking Woodstock takes you behind the scenes of the world’s most famous concert. Based on the book of the same name, Taking Woodstock tells the true story of Elliot Tiber, who inadvertently helped save the 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Festival. After having the use permits pulled for the original location, organizer Michael Lang was invited by Tiber to his family’s struggling motel in Bethel, right next door to Yasgur’s Farm... the rest is history. Starring Liev Schrieber, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Emile Hirsche, Demetri Martin, and Eugene Levy, the film was shot mostly in Columbia County’s New Lebanon last year. On August 8, the Woodstock Film Festival proudly presents a special screening of the flick, which debuted at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, at the Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock. Lee, screenwriter/producer James Schamus, and Michael Lang (a Woodstock resident) will be in attendance. The movie’s national release date is August 14. For more information, visit

♦ Click on any image in the gallery below for more behind-the-scenes pics of Ang Lee’s hippy flick, Taking Woodstock


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