From Camp Woodland to the Woodstock Music Festival

September 8th, 2010

 Raising Reds Author to Give Talk and Sign Books

Raising Reds: Young Pioneers, Radical Summer Camps, and Communist Political Culture

Woodstock, NY—On Sunday, September 12, from 2 to 4 p.m., Paul C. Mishler, author of Raising Reds: Young Pioneers, Radical Summer Camps, and Communist Political Culture, will give a talk at the Eames House, 20 Comeau Drive in Woodstock. Mishler’s presentation will be titled, “From Camp Woodland to the Woodstock Festival and Beyond.” Camp Woodland was located near Phoenicia from 1939 to 1962 and it helped to spark a revival in Catskill Mountain roots music. This event marks the final day of the Historical Society’s current retrospective exhibit on Camp Woodland.

In Raising Reds, Mishler focuses on the era of 1920 to 1950. During this time the Communist Party was able to make significant inroads into American society. Communists were active in labor unions and universities, and they published their articles in popular newspapers. These activities were undermined and demonized in the early 1950s due to McCarthyism and the advent of the Cold War. However, Mishler contends that the Communist radicalism of the 1930s re-emerged in the New Left’s activism of the 1960s.

Further, in his book Mishler explores how, during the Great Depression, some Americans believed that the music of the people was being forced underground due to the rise of larger, more impersonal instituions of social, commerical and industrial development. Therefore, during the 1930s, the Communists and their allies sought to discover/construct/create an alternative America grounded in the roots of the country’s culture. Camp Woodland set in motion an experiment to bring this alternative democratic model into being. The camp’s organizers felt that the most important way for Woodland to establish new ground was via a celebration of folk music and early American folk values, and that this could be made the basis for societal change. Mishler contends that these same beliefs led to the activism of the 1960s, to the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, and beyond.

Paul Mishler is an Associate Professor of Labor Studies at Indiana University. Raising Reds is published by Columbia University Press. Mishler will be on hand to answer questions and sign books. Refreshments will be served and the event is free. For more information call 845.246.3436 or log onto www.campwoodland.org.

Earth Day’s 40th in Woodstock

April 28th, 2010
Members of the Woodstock Town Council and Chamber of Commerce with bike rack on 4/22/10

Members of the Woodstock Town Council and Chamber of Commerce with Bike Rack on 4/22/10

On the 40th anniversary of Earth Day members of the Town Council and Chamber of Commerce gathered to officially welcome two bright red bicycle-shaped bike racks to Woodstock. The new racks were purchased with funds raised through last summer’s Roots of Woodstock Live Concert and Eco Raffle. The racks are intended as functional sculpture—signaling to visitors and residents that Woodstock is serious about its 2007 Zero-Carbon Initiative. One rack is located in front of the Woodstock Chamber booth at 10 Rock City Road. The second is at H. Houst & Son (an Eco Raffle sponsor), 4 Mill Hill Road. In honor of the occasion publisher WoodstockArts designed a 20.4 mile bicycle route featuring “Stories of Woodstock.” Click here to download the PDF.

Other green initiatives underway in Woodstock during this 40th anniversary year include the following:

  • The Chamber’s Experience Woodstock Card. Available to residents and visitors for just $25, this card is a passport to a festival of special offers at many of Woodstock’s leading shops, galleries, performance spaces and other venues in the area. Its purpose is to encourage everyone to think globally but shop locally, thereby helping Woodstock and the environment. The card is currently accessible online at the Chamber web site, as well as at Lotus Fine Art & Design (33 Rock City Road), Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty (11-13 Mill Hill Road) and Rondout Savings Bank, (295-4 Route 375, near the Hurley Ridge Market in West Hurley). Read the rest of this entry »

Van the Man in Woodstock

April 19th, 2010
Van Morrison's Moondance CD Cover

Van Morrison's Moondance CD Cover

In 1964, while I was at school in Scotland, Van Morrison and Them exploded on the U.K. charts with “Baby Please don’t Go”—and most memorably with “Gloria.” It took everyone by surprise. Where the heck did these guys come from?   

Later on when I was back in the States, I attended a Sound-Out in Pan Copeland’s field. Much to my amazement there was Van, not more than twenty feet from me on a makeshift stage. Astral Weeks  had just been released, and according to Clinton Heylin’s bio, Van Morrison: Can You Feel The Silence, he was playing the gig with former members of the Colwell-Winfield Blues Band. Ex-bandmates Jack Schrorer and Collin Tillton were in attendance. It was late August 1969, there was a hint of autumn in the air, and Van was giving an all-out performance. In Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival: The Backstory to Woodstock, there is a copy of the performance check. The band netted $50! In 1970 this core group of musicians, plus a few others, worked with Morrison on his classic Moondance album. International acclaim and fortune soon followed for Morrison. Read the rest of this entry »

Bike Racks Will Aid Woodstock’s Zero-Carbon Quest

September 24th, 2009
Bike racks to be purchased for Woodstock

Bike racks to be purchased for Woodstock

Forty years ago the ’69 Woodstock festival triggered many new trends. One such, the back-to-the-land movement, helped bring eco-consciousness to the forefront. The following year Earth Day was created. In March 2007 the Town of Woodstock passed a Zero-Carbon Initiative, pledging to neutralize Woodstock’s carbon footprint by 2017.

In a nod to these go-green efforts, the 8/15/09 Roots of Woodstock Live Concert was designated a Zero-Carbon fundraiser. This 40th anniversary tie-in event, held at Woodstock’s Bearsville Theater, included an Eco Raffle with prizes contributed by a dozen of Woodstock’s leading businesses. Monies raised were to be used for the purchase of Energy Star refrigerators or bicycle parking racks.

Given the relatively modest amount raised by the raffle in this challenging economy ($1,166), the concert producers together with the Woodstock Environmental Commission (WEC) have determined that the money should be used for bike racks. The Town of Woodstock plans to purchase four racks, and the Roots producers will buy several more with the raffle proceeds. David Lewis of the WEC has offered to coordinate placement of the racks throughout the town.

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