MY INCREDIBLE, AMAZING, AND BIZARRE WOODSTOCK ADVENTURE 1969!
June 14, 2009
When my friend, the Father Of Woodstock, Artie Kornfeld invited me to the festival in 1969, I thought it was going to be a great picnic, I wasn’t expecting a life changing experience!
Back in 1967 my wife Sheilah was working at Mercury records as a secretary to Artie Kornfield (“Pied Piper”, “Dead Man’s Curve”) We hung out a lot with Artie and his wife Linda. When we got divorced I got the dog and she got the Kornfelds!
Then one day Sheilah calls me up to tell me that she’s working with Artie again. It seems that he and his partner Michael Lang are putting on a music and art festival at the end of August in upstate NY at a place called Woodstock, and she’s his personal assistant. It sounds a bit disorganized, but I don’t say anything, if anyone can pull it together, they can.
It’s 3 hours before Allan Rinde and Rick Bolsom, from Mercury Records, Lita Eliscu a freelance writer (Rolling Stone), Cookie the groupie, and I are scheduled to go up to the Woodstock Music and Art festival. Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang, are having serious troubles getting permits and have to change locations to Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, NY, at the last minute. Unfortunately, I’m having serious problems of my own, I can’t score any grass to take to the event!
As a last resort I call my friend Heather MacRae, who’s currently starring in the smash hit, “Hair” On Broadway. She must know someone in the “Hippie” cast who can help us out. She leaves our names at the backstage door with a note to go upstairs to see her friends, James Rado and Gerome Ragni, who co-wrote the musical.
When we walk into Rado and Ragni’s dressing room, they look at Allan and me suspiciously, with cameras hanging around our necks, and tape recorders dangling from our shoulders. I laugh and nervously explain that we’re not cops or from the press trying to get a story, and show them our Woodstock press pass. Fortunately they believe us and when we tell them our “predicament”, they sell us a “lid” from their personal stash (at cost) and hand us a couple of capsules of mescaline for free, in the spirit of “Peace and Love”. We thank them and go to the garage to pick up Allan’s Oldsmobile Cutlass, and our friends, then head we head off for our weekend adventure.”
“Let The Sun Shine…Let The Sun Shine In…The Sun Shine In!”
The festival gets off to a great start with a set by Ritchie Havens, and then it starts to rain … and rain … and rain. There’s a buzz already that this is going to be a historic event. The press tent is alive with anticipation of seeing the artists and people behind the scenes.
I’m skeptical when I hear that a lawyer is taking over as head of Columbia Records, until I meet Clive Davis awash in the rain, the mud, and the good vibrations. How cool it is for the head of a record company to be out here “roughing it” like this with his artists!
Although my friends and I have warm, dry accommodations, food, water, and plenty of intoxicants, a half a million other people who are also here have to rough it in the mud and the rain! We run into a completely soaked (and delightfully stoned) Artie Kornfeld, The Father Of Woodstock, who tells us that thousands of people are crashing the gates, and Woodstock has become a free concert! Starry eyed and drooling, he turns around and melts back into the crowd.
Thousands of people are still pouring in after midnight and I warn my friends that we were probably going to be in the middle of a riot between the “haves” and the “have nots!”
I knew that this whole “Peace and Love” thing could blowup in a minute … but no one is listening to me as they slowly passed the bong around. I don’t know if it’s my paranoia of “Drug Crazed Hippies” rushing the motel or my fear of getting my new Fry boots dirty … I just knew I had to get the hell outa’ there!
After being at Woodstock less than 24 hours, I say goodbye to my friends and decide to hitchhike back to the city. I’m 27 yeas old but, hitchhiking is something I never tried before. At the side of an on ramp, I see Vince Aletti, writer for the Village Voice, who I know from the press parties I crash. He has his thumb out and looks pretty discouraged. This is his first time hitchhiking, too … but I act like a veteran and convince him that if we put on great big smiles, and act sincere … we’re bound to get a ride! In less than 10 minutes we’re picked up by a guy in an old Chevy wagon, who happens to be going all the way into the city! Just like the guys who rode the rails and became “Boxcar Buddies”, Vince and I had a shared experience that went “without a hitch”, so to speak, “Hitchhiking pals” for the rest of our lives!
Finally, I’m back in my apartment, thankful to be away from all of those people … I don’t believe all those people … Damn! It’s still early, so I pack my duffel bag and grab a subway out to Coney Island, stopping only long enough to swallow a little capsule Rado and Ragni, had given me. I don’t know why, but the rest of the day is magical! I feel so much love for Everyone I run into. I don’t even notice that I’m surrounded by a million people on the beach … twice as many as there was at Woodstock … but now … somehow I don’t care!”
Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne from my new book, , “I DID IT FOR A SONG”
Copyright 2012 by Artie Wayne
WHILE FIGHTING LARGE CORPORATIONS WHO ARE TRYING TO KEEP ROYALTIES AWAY ME AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER ARTISTS, SONGWRITERS AND PUBLISHERS, MY ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME IS FROM THE SALE OF MY BOOK. ” I DID IT FOR A SONG”, WITH OVER 100 STORIES FROM THE MUSIC BUSINESS OF THE ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. I HOPE YOU’LL CONSIDER BUYING ONE DIRECTLY FROM ME THROUGH PAYPAL FOR ONLY $9.99 AT firstname.lastname@example.org OR BY CHECK TO…ARTIE WAYNE P.O. BOX 1105, DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA 92240
THANKS AND REGARDS, ARTIE WAYNE https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/celebrating-two-million-views-today-on-artie-wayne-on-the-web/
TO READ SOME OF THE AMAZING AND INSPIRING COMMENTS CLICK HERE
“SPIDER-MANN” IN TOP PHOTO CREATED BY PHIL X. MILSTEIN!
To reach Artie Kornfeld: http://artiekornfeld-woodstock.com/
Special thanks to Phil X. Milstein for the enhanced Woodstock poster he made!
BACK TO ARTIE WAYNE ON THE WEB! https://artiewayne.wordpress.com
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Tags: "Hair" the Musical, A new festival celebrating Woodsock, allan rinde, AMAZING, AND BIZARRETOCK ADVENTURE 1969!, Artie Kornfeld Father Of Woodstock, Heather MacCrea, lita eliscu, Michael Lang, MY INCREDIBLE, Rado and Ragni co-writers of "Hair", Rick Bolsom, woodstock 1969, Woodstock 2009