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The Road to Woodstock

A book by Michael Lang

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The definitive account of how Woodstock was made to happen

  • Nov 30, 2009
Forty years after the event, the meaning of the music festival called Woodstock is still subject to a wide variety of interpretations. To some, it was a crude drug and sex fest where the music was secondary and an excuse. However, to others it was a magic moment when over 500,000 people got together and got along for three days. Given the overwhelming numbers that arrived, transportation, sanitation and food delivery nearly broke down, yet the people stayed mellow and controlled. There was generally fewer behavior difficulties and problems than would have occurred in any American city of comparable population.
Michael Lang was one of the organizers of the event and this account of the planning and organizational difficulties that went into making the event happen is interesting reading. It is amazing to think that they were inundated with many more people than they expected and they experienced torrential rain that turned the area into mud, yet the planners were able to keep things going. Other groups that tried to conduct similar rock festivals were unable to match their level of performance.
Despite being the planners of the summer of love, Lang and his group were immediately subjected to the reality of capitalism after the event was over when the bills came due. Others squeezed them to the point that Lang received only $31,750 as a buyout settlement. Given that Warner made over $50 million on the film in the first decade of its' release, you can see how cheated they were. Artie Kornfeld and Lang never received so much as a dime from the proceeds of the movie or soundtracks.
The majority of the pages are devoted to the planning that went into Woodstock and the logistic magic that was performed while it was happening to keep it happening. Very little paper and ink are used to describe the consequences of the event, which is probably for the best. It was a magic event and to have one of the organizers spend a great deal of time analyzing the consequences would probably tarnish the product.

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More The Road to Woodstock reviews
review by . November 23, 2009
Lang, Michael. "The Road to Woodstock", Ecco, 2009.    Getting There    Amos Lassen    Michael Lang was one of the promoters and creators of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. He knows what it took to put on this festival and we are lucky enough to have him share that with us. It has already been 40 years since the festival and that is somewhat hard to believe. Woodstock took the world by storm and showed the power of music and community. …
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Charles Ashbacher ()
Ranked #76
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
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For three days in August 1969, half a million music lovers happily braved torrential rains, endured lack of food and clean water, and grooved to the cosmic blues of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, danced all night to the funky soul of Sly and the Family Stone and witnessed the birth of a new band called Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm in Bethel, N.Y., the first Aquarian Exposition, or the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, grew far beyond the expectations of its creators. In this lively memoir, Lang, one of the festival's cocreators, retells the story—some of it already well-known—of the halting steps that he and his partners took to develop the greatest rock concert of all time. After a stint at NYU, Lang moved to Coconut Grove, where he opened a head shop and, with the help of some of his friends, organized Miami Pop in 1968, one of the first outdoor music festivals drawing major acts. Burned out on Miami, Lang headed to Woodstock, N.Y., to settle into the bohemian community of artists and craftsmen, and opened a recording studio. With a storyteller's verve and energy, Lang regales us with the tales of struggles with smalltown political leaders who opposed the festival, the kindness of Max Yasgur and the gargantuan task of feeding and taking care of a community the size of a large city. With the gritty insights of the ultimate insider, Lang weaves interviews with performers and others into his memoir, providing a ...
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ISBN-10: 0061576557
ISBN-13: 978-0061576553
Author: Michael Lang
Publisher: Ecco

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