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Roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival

Edited by Weston Blelock and Julia Blelock

  • Finalist at the National Best Books 2009 Awards

This book explores the roots of the 1969 Woodstock Festival. It explains definitively and for the first time why the festival was named Woodstock, and why it continues to be so closely associated with the eponymous art and music colony in upstate New York—even though the concert actually took place close to sixty miles to the south and west, in Bethel, NY.

Project Launch

The Roots book began as a panel discussion among townspeople conversant with the music scene in the late sixties. It was held on August 9, 2008, at the Colony Café in Woodstock (and followed by a contemporary “Sound-Out“). Panelists included Michael Lang, a Woodstock resident and legendary 1969 Woodstock Festival promoter; Jean Young, a co-author with Lang of Woodstock Festival Remembered; Bill West, active in local government since the 1960s; Jeremy Wilber, former Town Supervisor and bartender during the sixties at the Sled Hill Cafe; and Paul McMahon, a local music icon. During the course of the wide-ranging conversation the audience learned how Lang and his partners developed the concept for the world-renowned “Woodstock Music and Art Fair,” (as the 1969 Woodstock Festival was originally known) and how their thinking was shaped by Woodstock’s legacy of art and music festivals.

What’s in the Book

Included are the transcript of a 2008 panel discussion between Michael Lang and other individuals knowledgeable about 1960s Woodstock; a “roots of Woodstock” photo essay that highlights such Woodstock writers and performers at Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger and Richie Havens; a chronicle of the Arts and Crafts origins of the town from the 1800s; and an exploration of the town’s hallowed tradition of weekend-long music concerts. Roots also features a compendium of important Woodstock players, a map of historic sixties locations in the Woodstock area, and 115 images—many of them rare, vintage photos of the Woodstock music and art scenes.

More About the Roots Book

Published 2009; first edition; ISBN 97809679858; soft cover, perfect binding; 5½ x 8½ inches; 160 pages, 2 maps, 115 black and white images. Front matter: maps, foreword, introduction and list of major players. Back matter: questions prepared for the August 9, 2008 panel discussion, panelist bios, August 9, 2008 Sound-Out program, sources, acknowledgments, editor bios and index.

List price: $19.95 / sale price on this site: $15.95; shipping within U.S. only.

About the Authors/Editors

Weston and Julia Blelock have had a presence in the Woodstock area since 1956. During the sixties Weston as at school in the UK, but summered in Woodstock. He attended several Sound-Outs and the ’69 Festival in Bethel. During the 1990s he was a radio journalist in Canada. More recently he co-founded WoodstockArts, a publishing and production company. He was formerly Vice President of the Historical Society of Woodstock.

Julia Blelock also grew up in Woodstock. She left town to pursue a marketing career in information technology, based in New York City and Los Angeles. She recently returned to Woodstock and has become an ardent promoter of area artists and the environment through her work for the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts and the Woodstock Environmental Commission. She is a co-founder of WoodstockArts.

 

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