1969: The (Other) Woodstock Festival

February 11th, 2010
Cyril Caster in 1974

A Photo of Cyril Caster from 1974

The Woodstock Sound-Outs were mini-festivals after which Michael Lang modeled his mega event in 1969. They were held on Pan Copeland’s farm on the outskirts of Woodstock, New York, from 1967 to 1970. The stage was inches from the ground and the amphitheater was a former cow pasture. Over the years different producers partnered with Pan, but by 1969 a musician from Seneca Falls, NY, named Cyril Caster was tapped to head up the festival production team. That group became known as Coyote Productions. Bob Fass, Pan Copeland, Cyril and a couple of others were in charge of the enterprise.

By 1969 the Sound-Outs were officially renamed the Woodstock-Saugerties Sound Festival, or simply The Woodstock Festival. (That was one reason Michael Lang and his partners called their event the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair.) That season the Coyote team planned eight concerts, signing headliners like Van Morrison, Paul Butterfield, Cyril and his band, Tim Hardin, Chrysalis and Children of God. But due to inclement weather very few of the concerts were staged that year. When festival-goers heading to the Bethel event accidentally came to Woodstock, they were directed to Pan’s field. At least they could say they had attended The Woodstock Festival in Woodstock.

2 Responses to “1969: The (Other) Woodstock Festival”

  1. John Magill says:

    We see Cyril every now and again playing at the Barrington Coffee Shop in New Jersey…he tells us these stories of playing with the Velvet Underground and partying with rock stars, and we thought he’s full of it.
    Guess we stand corrected, eh?
    Cyril, I tip my bowler in reverence to you sir!

  2. No BS. Another Caster gig was playing on Allen Ginsberg’s Committee of Poetry recording. This was released as HOLY SOUL JELLY ROLL. Funding was provided by Paul McCartney. Cyril played French Horn.

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