Woodstock Was . . .
Meet Max Yasgur
Woodstock Ventures' Determination And Max Yasgur's Support!
This is Max, the only reason Woodstock took place! Doesn't Max look like a nice, friendly, respectable kind of guy? He looks like a friend, to be friends with. This man put a lot on the line for this music festival to take place. Thanks and gratitude Max, rest in peace.
The 1969 Woodstock Music Festival was a peaceful protest against the Vietnam War, the determination of four men and a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur. Many performers played on stage during this three day music concert. Psychedelic drugs and marijuana were more prevalent than food and water and the surrounding lands damaged.
Woodstock Ventures was a group established to produce the Woodstock Festival. They needed a site for this concert to take place. Real estate agents were assisting in the search for land to rent for just a few months. Initially, Woodstock Ventures leased a section of land in the Town of Wallkill, New York for $10,000 to Howard Mills, Jr., owner of the property. The determination and effort of four men and a dairy farmer made the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival happen. Those four men? Artie Kornfeld, Michael Lang, Joel Rosenman and John P. Roberts through Woodstock Ventures, and the dairy farmer, Max Yasgur.
It was a Sunday in late March," said Joel Rosenman, remembers "We drove up to Wallkill, New York and saw an industrial park. We talked to Howard Mills and we made a deal." John Roberts added: "The vibes just weren't right there for what we really had in mind, it was an industrial park. Not really happy about the site but relieved that they had one, and '"Well, at least we got a site now.'"
The 300 acre Mills Industrial Park offered perfect access. It was less than a mile from
Route 17, which could be accessed from the New York State Thruway, and it was close to
Route 211, a major local thoroughfare. It also had the basic essentials needed, electricity and water lines.
The land was zoned as industrial as well as cultural exhibitions and concerts. The promoters approached the town planning board and were given a verbal agreement to proceed. Michael Lang, another partner in Woodstock Ventures, was unhappy with the site. It was missing the outdoor ambiance they were looking for.
The Wallkill Town Supervisor, Jack Schlosser questioned the group's claims about how many would attend. Faced with opposition from local residents and the Town Board, the Wallkill Zoning Board of Appeals officially banned the concert in June.
Max Yasgur Saves Woodstock! - Woodstock Festival Moves to Bethel, New York
Enter Max Yasgur. Max stepped in and saved Woodstock. He went to the town committee and told them what he thought and how he felt about the music festival. He spoke to the committee about our freedom, our beliefs and about war.
1969 Woodstock Music Festival Moves To Yasgur's Farm
Elliot Tiber, President of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce is the reason the Woodstock 1969 Music Festival was held in Bethel, New York. Tiber eventually introduced Woodstock concert promoters to Max Yasgur, whose dairy farm became the site for Woodstock.
Max Yasgur addresses the Bethel Town Committee before the Woodstock Music Festival.
"I hear you are considering changing the zoning law to prevent the festival. I hear you don't like the look of the kids who are working at the site. I hear you don't like their lifestyle. I hear you don't like they are against the war and that they say so, very loudly. . .
I don't particularly like the looks of some of those kids either. I don't particularly like their lifestyle, especially the drugs and free love. And I don't like what some of them are saying about our government.
However, if I know my American history, tens of thousands of Americans in uniform gave their lives in war after war just so those kids would have the freedom to do exactly what they are doing. That's what this Country is all about and I am not going to let you throw them out of our Town just because you don't like their dress or their hair or the way they live or what they believe in.
This is America and they are going to have their festival."
Max Yasgur's dairy farm is located in Bethel, New York and Woodstock Music attendance was half a million strong! Woodstock Venture Group had only anticipated around 20,000 or so, would be attending. Half a million people showed up for this historical music festival.
The Road To Woodstock
Woodstock Ventures was a group of guys that got together and had a big idea for an outdoor music festival and art fair. They originally wanted to make money from this venture but as we all know, life changes. The Woodstock Ventures were looking to invite bands to play, some accepted and some refused their invitations. (More on that below). BUT, this music festival almost didn't happen, with the determination of the Woodstock Ventures group and Max Yasgur, this music festival did happen!
Max, Woodstock Stage - Video Addressing The Crowd
Max Yasgur Addresses The Woodstock Crowd
This is so heartfelt and sincere you can't help but feel it! The way Max talks to the crowd with respect and tells them they are people to be respected by all. That their opinions and beliefs are being heard by thousands, the Woodstock Festival Music concert will be forever remembered.
And this is what Max had to say:I'm a farmer, I don't know how to speak to twenty people at one time, let alone a crowd like this. But I think you people have proven something to the world - not only to the Town of Bethel, or Sullivan County, or New York State; you've proven something to the world. This is the largest group of people ever assembled in one place.
We had no idea that there would be this size group, and because of that you've had quite a few inconveniences as far as water, food, and so forth. Your producers have done a mammoth job to see that you're taken care of... they'd enjoy a vote of thanks.
But above all that, the important thing that you've proven to the world is that a half a million kids - and I call you kids because I have children that are older than you are - a half million young people can get together and have three days of fun and music and have nothing but fun and music, and I God Bless You for it!
Between August 15 and August 18, Yasgur's farm was the most important location in music history. After the Woodstock 1969 Three Day Music Festival, Max was in trouble. Yasgur was shunned and sued by neighbors for property damages caused by the half a million people in attendance. His property also sustained extensive damages but he saved the Woodstock Music Festival.
Max Addressing The Crowd At Woodstock
Kickin' Themselves Now!!
Music Bands Respond "NO THANKS" To Woodstock Invitation!
Here is a list of performers invited to perform at the Woodstock 1969, Three Day Music Festival but declined their invitation:
Seems that are two different reasons listed why the Beatles did not perform. The first is that promoters contacted John Lennon to discuss a Beatles performance at Woodstock, and Lennon said that the Beatles would not play unless there was also a spot at the festival for Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band, but he was turned down. Did anyone like her music anyway? The other is that Lennon wanted to play but his entry into the United States from Canada was blocked by President Nixon. Not really sure if this one is true.
Were invited, but figured Woodstock wouldn't be any different from any other music festival during that summer. As bassist John York remembers: "We were flying to a gig and Roger McGuinn came up to us and said that a guy was putting on a festival in upstate New York. But wouldn't be paying all of the bands. He asked us if we wanted to do it and we said, 'No'. We had no idea what it was going to be. We were burned out and tired of the festival scene. So all of us said, 'No, we want a rest' and missed the best festival of all.'"
Were considered as a potential performing band, but canceled at the last moment; according to guitarist Robby Krieger, they turned it down because they thought it would be a "second class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival", and later regretted that decision.
was in negotiations to play, but pulled out when his son became ill.
declined to perform. According to Ian Anderson, when his manager told him there would be lots of drugs, mud and hippies, he refused the invitation. Although Jethro Tull did not perform, the songs "Beggar's Farm" and "Serenade to a Cuckoo", can be heard in the background over the public address system
and the Shondells declined an invitation. Lead singer Tommy James later stated: "We could have just kicked ourselves. We were in Hawaii and received a call: "Yeah, listen, there's this pig farmer in upstate New York that wants you to play in his field.' That's how it was put to me. So we passed, and we realized what we'd missed a couple of days later."
was originally slated to perform, but canceled to avoid missing her scheduled appearance on The Dick Cavett Show.
The Moody Blues
were included on the original Wallkill poster but were already booked in Paris the same weekend.
declined because they already had shows planned.
Led Zeppelin were asked to perform, but manager Peter Grant stated: "We were asked to do Woodstock, I said no because at Woodstock we'd have just been another band on the playbill."
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