- August 15, 2002 — The Woodstock Music & Art Fair began 33 years ago today at Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, N.Y. I had seen an advertisement in the July 27, 1969 Sunday New York Times Arts section, and ordered tickets — $18 for all three days, Aug. 15, 16 & 17, 1969.
Twenty years later, I was lifestyles editor of The Providence Journal, and the task of doing the 20th anniversay package fell to me by default, since I’d been there. I interviewed 50 other Rhode Islanders who were also there, and published a 3-day series on the concert.
….1989, Bethel N.Y.: The paper sent me back to Woodstock for the 20th anniversary, but not much was going on. Nevertheless, I hitchhiked out Saturday night to file for Sunday’s page one from a pay phone in a bar. It was next to a blaring jukebox, I was using acoustic couplers (“rubber duckies”) and the low-battery light on the Radio Shack laptop was flashing. Amazingly, it worked. Over the course of the next week, I saw wire stories suggesting the real action in Bethel was still building. On a hunch, I drove back to Bethel the following weekend, and filed two more stories.
All kinds of good stuff – she’s looking for your memories as well. I remember the freaking traffic driving, purely coincidentally, along the nearest highway to the 25th anniversary show in 1994, on the way back to Cleveland from Boston. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on until I heard it on the radio – my mind was elsewhere. I caught a back road and snuck around the mess, only slightly tempted to partake of the mud and the blood and the madness. Maybe I’ll make the next one, and maybe university-educated monkeys will hang-glide out of all our asses.