“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 »
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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Salidor
Woodstock at Woodstock Live Concert
Concert Team Books Initial Acts
Woodstock, NY—June 16, 2009—Weston and Julia Blelock, producers of the August 15, 2009, Roots of Woodstock Live Concert at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, today announced a preliminary lineup for the 40th anniversary tie-in event. Music acts booked so far include the Dave Mason Band, Hubert Sumlin and Ellen McIlwaine. Read the rest of this entry »