1969

TEN YEARS AFTER - Woodstock Festival

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The Song of Woodstock Nation:

Well, I came upon a child of god and he was walking along the road and I asked him, tell me where are you going?
And this he told me. Said, I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm, going to join in a rock and roll band.
I’m going to camp out on the land. I’m going to try and get my soul free. We are stardust, we are golden and we have got to get ourselves back to the garden.

Then can I walk beside you, I have come here to loose the smog, and I feel to be a cog in something turning.
Well maybe it is just the time of the year, or maybe it is the time of man,

I do not know who I am, but you know life is for learning.
We are stardust, we are golden, and we have got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By the time we got to Woodstock we were half a million strong, and everywhere was song and celebration.
And, I dreamed I saw bombers, riding shotgun in the sky, and then were turning into butterflies above our nation.
We are stardust, billion year old carbon, we are golden, caught in the devil’s bargain,
and we have got to get ourselves back to the garden.

By Joni Mitchell 1969



Herb Staehr at the legendary Woodstock Festival 1969

"I came to Woodstock by taking 128 North, the Massachusetts Turnpike West to Albany, 87 South to Middletown and 17 West to White Lake - probably about 5 hours on a good travel day!
 
Seriously, we had a "caravan" of 2 cars and left about 6PM on Thursday night - 3 hours later than planned, but nobody cared - we were young and carefree. Early Friday morning (or late Thursday night), we somehow managed to navigate around all the cars that were already backed up on Rt.17 - by driving on the soft shoulder. I remember managing to stay awake nearly the whole night except for the last hour or so. We arrived at the "campsite" about 6:00 AM when my brother shook me awake and said, "We're here!!".. There  were only 100 or so tents when we set up but, after sleeping for about 6 hours, we awoke to 10 times as many "neighbors" and the population continued to grow exponentially over the course of the next three days.
 
We arrived at the Festival site in the early afternoon on Friday -  I still remember the pastoral beauty of narrow Hurd Road, lined with trees and the vast and gently sloping farm fields - and, around a corner, it suddenly opened to the surreal scene of the stage, light towers and (already) several thousand people. Richie Havens started sometime thereafter - we were right at edge of the stage. I only remember bits and pieces of the whole trip - the crystal clear voice of Joan Baez late Friday - closing the evening as we tryed to find our way back to the campsite....my brother and I took a wrong turn and got hopelessly lost, hitching a ride with Arlo Guthrie's limo driver (honest) who was also lost...finally finding "home" again and waking up with what seemed like 2 inches or rainwater in the tent on the next (Saturday) morning.
 
The highlights on Saturday were Santana (the stage hands threw left over pieces of 2x4's into the crowd and everybody was clapping them together in beat to "Soul Sacrifice"). Canned Heat were also great, they actually performed twice that afternoon. In the evening, I remember that the Grateful Dead played an incredibly long and terrible set - but they were followed by Creedence Clearwater Revival, with John Fogerty's distinctive voice howling up the hillside after the opening notes to "Born On The Bayou"... and everything was instantly good again!!  If I am not mistaken, many of us came just to see CCR - because they were huge at the time.
 
I remember very little of Sunday, we left in the early afternoon because we all had to be back at work or school (I was in my senior year at Mass Maritime Academy) and, by then, were all very tired, hungry and wet. I believe Ten Years After took the stage about 8:00 PM on Sunday night - the first act after an extended rain delay. I was already nearly home about that time and missed them - but, no matter, I had seem them 2 weeks before in the intimate confines of the "Boston Tea Party" and that in itself was an unforgettable experience."

 

 

 

Joe Cocker

 

 

  Alvin Lee listening  to his personal manager Dee Anthony at Woodstock 1969

  Ric Lee on the left, talking to Chip Monck

 

Woodstock 1969: Three hours of steady rain, dropped five inches of water, and during the summer downpour, there were real fears that some of the artists would get electrocuted, if they attempted to perform on stage. Alvin Lee of the band Ten Years After was warned of this distinct possibility, as it was still raining when the bands turn to go on came.

“Oh come on, if I get electrocuted at Woodstock, we’ll sell lots of records,” Alvin said

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Color Photos of Ten Years After courtesy of Herb Staehr

 

 

 
 

For The Love Of Movies: Mark Rosenthal’s Summer Of Love                        By Raquel B. Pidal

As an eighteen year old college student, Mark heard about a weekend long music festival in upstate New York and decided to go. “I’m one of the few people who actually bought tickets to Woodstock,” he laughs. “ I was so thrilled to hear about it that I bought tickets. They were $18.00 for the weekend, which back then was an enormous sum of money.

When I got there, I quickly hid them, because I realized that if you were truly into the “Woodstock Spirit” you wouldn’t even have bought tickets.

“Not only was I at Woodstock, not only did I buy tickets, but I was actually at the exact spot when they decided it was going to be a free concert,” he adds.

He and his two friends arrived a day early, and because they had come unprepared, without tents or sleeping bags, they lived out of the car. On Friday morning, Mark was walking towards the concert field and spotted a group of men, with giant rolls of chain link fence, frantically trying to put up the fence before the crowds grew.
”I had my ticket in my hand, as I stepped up, I saw one guy with a beard, turn to the other and say “Fuck It” it’s a free concert. Don’t put up the fence”. So I quickly took the ticket and hid it in my pocket, because everyone was cheering”. Mark also recalls, there were beautiful full – colour programs printed for “Woodstock” that nobody knew about”. You were suppose to get one as you entered the gates and handed them your ticket. But when they decided not to put up the fences, they left boxes of them lying around. I stuck one in my car. I had about twenty of them. A year later, I cut them up and made a college for my dorm room wall, thinking, “Oh Well”, it’s just Hippie-Stuff”. I think today, if I had my twenty copies”, he pauses; “I always kill myself about it”.

  A year later, Mark transferred to St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, his walls covered in cut-up “Woodstock Programs”. The documentary film “Woodstock” had just been released in  theatres, and Mark told his friends, that he had attended the concert, so they went to see the film.

“That movie made me realize that I have an amazing Woodstock story, says Mark.

“On the last night, after the rain storm, it was freezing. You would huddle around people who had made fires, and since they’d burn trash, there was a horrible stench over the whole place.

We were standing with these guys from New Jersey, and one of them had a watermelon.

Food was so scarce, so we urged  him to cut it up. This one kid was passing around a hash pipe and said, No – I’m going to give this watermelon to Alvin Lee”. Alvin Lee was the lead singer of this British Blues Band, called Ten Years After. “What are you talking about? Are you crazy? The stage is a million miles away! He hoisted the watermelon onto his shoulder and walked off into the night”.

Mark remembered this story as he watched the “Woodstock Documentary” for when they showed the clip of “Ten Years After” playing, a watermelon rolled across the stage and hit Alvin Lee’s feet. Alvin Lee picked it up, held it up for the crowd to see, and left the stage.

I was sitting there in the theatre audience watching this going, “Wait a minute, this is  a dream I had?” That’s what happened to that watermelon !!!  

 

 

 

 

“Charisma and blind speed made guitarist and singer Alvin Lee a standout at Woodstock”,
wrote Paul Evens in The New Rolling Stone Album Guide.

 

 Ten Years After’s performance at Woodstock 1969 – quadrupled the bands fan base.

 

click picture to enlarge article

 


 

 

 


"I'm Going Home by Helicopter"


 

 
The following article and photos courtesy of Herb Staehr

 


click picture to enlarge article from 1989

 


John B. Sebastian



Santana

 


Carlos Santana

 


Mike Shrieve

 

 


Sweetwater

   


Richie Havens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Photo by George Pericharos

 

 


Woodstock Video Stills - Herb Staehr and Friends

 

 

 
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