On August 9, at 7 p.m., join Weston Blelock, author of Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to “Woodstock,” for a talk and book signing at the Inquiring Mind Bookstore and Cafe. Blelock will discuss the events—including the Sound-Out Music Festivals in Saugerties—that inspired Michael Lang’s Woodstock Festival of 1969. Also on the bill are FishCastle, a lively folk duo—Cyril Caster and Catherine Selin, from Landenberg, PA. Caster is a past producer of the Sound-Outs and has played and recorded with Big Joe Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Elvin Jones, Pete Seeger, David Blue and Nico. His singing partner, Catherine has performed with numerous choirs here and abroad. In 2006 she won the Virginia Harp Center Challenge for composition. The group play multiple instruments and are known for their diverse sound. Fans liken their music to the sounds of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison and Neil Young. The Inquiring Mind Bookstore is at the corner of Partition and Main Streets in Saugerties. The event is free and open to the public. For more info call 845-246-5775, visit www.woodstockarts.com or link to FishCastle Music on Facebook.
As Woodstock gets ready to celebrate Earth Day on Monday, April 22, we wanted to recap some local environmental milestones.
In 2003 the Woodstock Environmental Commission (WEC) procured a New York State Energy Research Development Agency grant covering eighty percent of the project cost of a photo-voltaic panel array for the municipal building at 76 Tinker Street. On March 13, 2007, the Town of Woodstock unanimously passed a Zero-Carbon Initiative. The goal was to achieve a net zero emission of carbon dioxide by the end of 2017.
In 2009 the Roots of Woodstock Live Concert was held on August 15 at the Bearsville Theater. This 40th anniversary Woodstock festival concert also raised money via an Eco Raffle. The monies raised enabled the concert promoters to purchase two bright red bicycle-shaped Dero bike racks. One was placed in front of Houst’s on Mill Hill Road and the other in front of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce and Arts booth on Rock City Road.
Also in 2009 the WEC produced The Green Guide, a 39-page handout, detailing ways Woodstockers can lower their eco-footprint. In June 2011 the town installed a solar array atop the Woodstock Highway Garage. The town currently generates over five percent of its electricity needs from solar arrays. Woodstock is continuing to work on a plan to reach its net zero emission goal by 2017.
“An Air of Magic—Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to “Woodstock,” an article by David Bouton that appears in the winter 2009 issue of Kaatskill Life, offers a great review of the Roots book and concert. Bouton begins with, “[The festival] happened here in the Catskill Mountains. It did not take place at Berkeley, or in the Golden Gate Park near San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury. The historic, famous, somewhat spontaneous Woodstock peace, music and arts festival of 1969 in the Catskills was not a fluke either in its nature or its location. Yes, the event eventually was held in Bethel, NY, 70 miles away, but the festival is and forever will be called “Woodstock,” reflecting its origins, its geographical location, its nature, and inherent outlook and attitude: that of the community of Woodstock, NY.”
When we were invited to spend the Woodstock Festival’s 40th anniversary weekend at our friends’ home in Woodstock itself (actually Bearsville, a few miles west on Route 212), I checked the local gig schedule and saw that former Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin would be appearing at the Bearsville Theater on Saturday night. Hubert turns 78 this November and it seemed an opportune moment to hear one of the last surviving originators of Chicago electric blues. Only when we saw the flyers posted around town did I discover that Hubert was but one of four acts on the show.
Also appearing were a local local gospel-infused jam band called Children of God, the 2009 version of the Blues Magoos (!), and the folk-blues singer/guitarist Ellen McIlwaine. Read the rest of this entry »