Bob Fass on the Woodstock Sound-Outs

June 22nd, 2009
Bob Fass


For more than 40 years Bob Fass has hosted Radio Unnameable on Pacifica Radio’s WBAI. Fass’s show pioneered free-form radio. He has welcomed them all—the famous as well as the lesser known. Some of the former include Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, The Fugs, and Happy and Artie Traum.

In the late sixties Fass emceed a series of music festivals on the outskirts of Woodstock, NY. As Fass writes in his foreword to Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, these were known as the Sound-Outs: “Someone from USCO called it Sound-Out because it wasn’t a Be-In.” He continues,

“We invited the best musicians we knew. Stagehands built a stage. Macrobiotic, energy-transforming food was prepared and sold for pennies a bowl. Mind-expanding goulash imported from around the world was abundant. It was a potent mix of the new and the traditional. There was a whole lot of love and whole lot of creativity and community spirit . . .”

 The festivals were open-air affairs held on Pan Copeland’s farm in West Saugerties, NY. Some of the acts associated with the Sound-Outs include Ellen McIlwaine’s Fear Itself, the Colwell-Winfield Blues Band, Tim Hardin, Don McLean, Scott Fagan, Frank Wakefield, and Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys.

3 Responses to “Bob Fass on the Woodstock Sound-Outs”

  1. paul brayman says:

    mu group the sweet honey blues group played there the noght the soft machine played.dylan even showed up in the audiance. i knew Pam from her store on tinker st. its a shame they had to end.

  2. Paul, thanks for your input. No question, it was a great time to be alive.

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