On May 26, 2013, at the Bearsville Theater, Happy Traum will host Marco Benevento, Tracy Bonham, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, Jay Collins, Dave Dreiwitz Donald Fagan, Amy Helm, Connor Kennedy, Jerry Marotta, Tim Moore, A.C. Newman, Jane Scarpantoni, Jim Weider, Doug Yoel and Peter Dougan & The WDS Advance Ensemble, among others, singing songs from Bob Dylan’s catalog at the Woodstock Soundout. The doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m.
The Woodstock Soundouts began in September 1967 as an outdoor folk/rock concert produced by Pan Copeland and Jocko Moffitt. Moffitt, a roofer and drummer from California, modeled them after festivals he had seen in his native state. Acts like Richie Havens, Billy Batson, Phil Ochs and Tim Hardin performed in 1967. The concerts occurred yearly until 1970. Due to mass gathering limits—on the Town of Saugerties books—of no more than 200 people allowed, the concert series became unprofitable and were discontinued. In 2008 they were resuscitated by the Woodstock Day School(WDS) as a fundraising event. The school is located across the road from the old site on lower Glasco Turnpike in West Saugerties. In 2009 Happy Traum, a Soundout Festival vet from the 1960s, co-founded the Bob Dylan birthday celebration at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild with Lu Ann Bielawa. Last year the WDS Soundout series was merged with the annual Dylan birthday celebration.
In 1970, due to the impact of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, smaller events like the Woodstock Sound-Outs were increasingly shut down by New York State municipalities. The Town of Saugerties, in whose jurisdiction the Sound-Outs fell, put on its books a law preventing mass gatherings of 200 persons or more without a permit.
After Cyril Caster left in 1969, Ian Hain stepped up to co-promote the Sound-Outs with Pan Copeland. Hain made a number of improvements to the site, including the construction of a band shell. He was able to pull off several festivals in 1970 without a permit, before the local authorities caught up with him. But at the July 25, 1970 concert, a couple of sheriff’s deputies were stationed by the festival entrance gate, taking a careful count of those admitted. As soon as the tally went over 200, Hain—who still hadn’t managed to secure a permit—was arrested. The town lawyers kept his case in and out of the courts for the rest of the summer, and no other concerts were successfully staged. In September all charges against the promoter were finally dropped, but the season was over.
It was a great pity, for the headliners that summer would have included such icons as James Taylor and Larry Coryell. They are featured in the ad above, for an August 8, 1970 Sound-Out that had to be cancelled due to Hain’s legal difficulties.
In 1938 D.H. Lawrence wrote in The Phoenix, a Woodstock publication, “still in America, among the Indians, the oldest Pan is alive.” This is a fitting tribute to the bacchanalian energy that was present during the Maverick Festivals in the early 1900s. This spirit re-surfaced in the late sixties at the Woodstock Sound-Outs, where festival goers co-habituated with nature in weekend-long parties under the open skies.
What is not so well known is that the host of the Woodstock Sound-Outs was none other than Pansy “Pan” Drake Copeland (1910-1994). Pan was by turns a tough, feisty lady and a sweetheart. Bill West, a long-time politician, remembers taking Jay Rolison (who was running for the State Assembly) around to meet the shop keepers. He stopped in at Ann’s Delicatessen to meet Pan, the current owner. West had barely concluded the introductions when Copeland upbraided him about some totally unrelated town topic. Needless to say, the politicians beat a hasty retreat. On the other hand, according to Ellen McIlwaine, Pan was like a mother to her. In fact so much so that Copeland managed and guided Ellen’s career during the early seventies. Read the rest of this entry »