Woodstock: Westport Remembers

If you grew up when I did, you’ve got a Woodstock memory.

I had a ticket and everything (except actual plans about how to get there).

Me, in my Woodstock days. Or should I say, Woogstock.

Then I got grounded. (Well deserved, I must admit.) Instead of getting rained on, sleeping in the mud and being awakened by Jimi Hendrix, I sat at home. I read about the huge festival in the New York Times. A few months later, I saw the movie.

Several years later — now out of college — I was cleaning my old room at my parents’ house. I found my Woodstock ticket: still pristine, never used.

“Oh,” I said to myself. “That’s interesting.”

And promptly threw it out.

That’s not the most compelling — or financially savvy — Woodstock story. But it’s mine.

Other people have much better ones.

Like Michael Friedman (Staples High School 1961 grad/music producer/ photographer). Roger Kaufman (Staples ’66 musician/musicologist). Dodie Pettit (Westport actress/singer/Woodstock attendee). Paul Nelson (Johnny Winter’s guitar player). Ira and Maxine Stone (Woodstock performers). Bruce Pollock (author).

They’ll all be at the Westport Woman’s Club this Wednesday (May 15, 7 p.m.). They’re part of a “Woodstock: 50 Years Down the Road” panel, talking about their experiences at that almost-50-years-ago/seems-like-yesterday historical event.

“Lotta freaks!” Arlo Guthrie said. “The New York State Thruway is closed!”

After the discussion, the Old School Revue’s Woodstock All-Stars will play  favorite hits from Woodstock. Performers include Kaufman, Pettit, the Stones (Ira and Maxine, not Mick and Keith), Pete Hohmeister, Frank Barrese, Bob Cooper, Billy Foster and Nina Hammerling Smith.

Special guests include Rex Fowler of Aztec Two-Step, Robin Batteau and the Saugatuck Horns (Joe Meo and Fred Scerbo).

The event is free (but register online; seating is limited).

In other words, you don’t need a ticket.

That’s good. If I had one, I’d probably throw it away.

(For more information, click here. “Woodstock: 50 Years Down the Road” is sponsored by the Westport Library.)

20 responses to “Woodstock: Westport Remembers

  1. I have an original, authentic Woodstock program. My best friend went to Woodstock and brought it home for me. (My parents wouldn’t let me go.) I’m selling it this year for the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, so if anyone out there is interested in it, let me know!

    • Is there any reference in it to Swami Satchidananda? If there is lmknow and I may have people who will want to buy it. Swami Satchidananda is The 1 & Only Swami who officially opened Woodstock. I do yoga at his ashram in West Village for 25+ years and even after totally leaving Westport it’s where I run into and meet so many Westporters, a lot of them explaining The Swami’s Woodstock lineage having drawn them there.

      • Sorry, no reference to the Swami in the program. Mine is a bound booklet with graphics of all the artists that performed at Woodstock, plus some essays and a few ads. It’s the official Woodstock program that not very many people got their hands on, given the crowds and all the chaos. My friend got hers at the beginning of Woodstock, but after the festival was over, someone dumped a big pile of them on the ground. There are not a lot that survived.

  2. Patrick Kennedy

    Dan, great peace! Great picture, thanks for sharing. I was too young for Woodstock, but I made Watkins Glen. Patrick Kennedy Sent from my iPhone

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  3. Arthur Klausner

    I remember that my babysitter came back that summer (from what I later learned was Woodstock) with a new, long-haired boyfriend in tow. Quite the scandal on Westport Avenue! For what it’s “worth” regarding your ticket: https://www.etsy.com/listing/500560401/1969-original-woodstock-full-unused?gpla=1&gao=1&utm_campaign=shopping_us_VinylDestiny_sfc_osa&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google&utm_custom1=0&utm_content=11127641&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlPW7yfyY4gIVC5-fCh3wNgQiEAQYASABEgKi0vD_BwE

  4. Hedi Lieberman

    My father was the principal of the Monticello Junior High School. The schools were opened and then used as health centers that weekend. My mother made over 100 peanut and jelly sandwiches with the Temple Sisterhood. As such I was not allowed to go!!

  5. Peter Gambaccini

    I was there, and still have the tickets (only a few were ever collected). All I’ll say is that I wasn’t much more than slightly aware of how the New York Times and TV news had been covering it until I was almost ready to leave. We were appalled by the media’s impression of the events, and by the notion that the National Guard was nearly called in. Yes, we had to rough it, and there wasn’t much to eat, but I don’t think many teenagers and 20-somethings felt they were experiencing hardship. Or had any regrets at all.

    I now know that there were dozens of the Westporters in attendance, including the valedictorian of my Staples class, which is one of the things that refutes the notion promulgated by the “Woodstock” movie that the crowd was at least 80 percent “hippie.” If that were so, a few hundred thousands more people would have still been around to hear Jimi Hendrix on Monday, many hours after he’d been scheduled to appear. Perhaps one in eight of the festivalgoers were still there. The vast majority had left because, among other things, they had jobs to get back to. I was working that summer at the “Westport News” The acting editor (Jo Brosius was on vacation) had apparently been following the events in the Times or on TV and was surprised to see me. “We didn’t think you’d be able to get out of there,” she said. The first thing I did that morning was write an article about Woodstock, which would be accompanied by photos by my brother Phil.

  6. Jan Carpenter

    By the time I read this, the event was sold out! I’m sure that means interest is strong. Maybe they’ll consider a larger venue!?

  7. Jonathan L Maddock

    That picture is how I remember you from Long Lots JH. I was a scared little 7th grader and you were a man-about-school 9th grader. Were you the class president that year? I seem to remember you running for office….or am I remembering your sister running for office (she was in my class). Probably both…. I think it runs in the family!

    • Wow, you have a great memory. I was indeed the class president (or maybe of the whole school) that year at Long Lots Junior High. I have no idea of what my platform was, or what I did. Maybe it was “no more haircuts for anyone.”

  8. A. David Wunsch

    I always liked the aphorism , “If you can remember the 60’s you weren’t there.”
    ADW Staples 1956

  9. Brad French

    Me and my buddy Dana Dorta were hanging in downtown Westport when Tommy Erickson and his buddy Steve pulled up in their used post office van.
    They were as hippie as Westport had, the van was painted 60’s style with the keep on trucking guy on it. They slid the door open and told us to get in, they were going to a weekend concert in NY. We almost did but had no money for food. I went to Watkins Glen later on.

  10. Matt Murray

    I have a couple of original Woodstock posters. I worked at a recording studio in the mid-seventies, owned by the original guys behind the concert, Joel Roseman and (the late) John Roberts. I worked in the shipping department (as a gopher) and one day I and another person were told to grab some chairs from their office around the corner to bring to the studio (MediaSound, 311 W. 57th, St.). In the room with the chairs were a stack of the posters. We asked Joel if we could grab a few, and he said sure. At the studio’s Christmas party the used the leftover tickets as drink chits. One of the guys thought to hang on to the tickets and buy his drinks. I was not so wise (free drinks!!!). But the posters are still with me. Joel and John were deeply in debt after the concert and was a reason they sold the rights to the movie. One of their fathers bailed them out, too.

  11. Ann Chernow

    I owned a crummy studio apartment in New York City that had to be sold but we had no offers for months. My partner Martin decided we needed to to make the place more interesting, and hung up his original poster for the Woodstock event. The following week a couple looked at this hole in the wall room, and bought it. They told us they were buying it because of the Woodstock poster ; to them it meant that ‘hip’ people had lived there; . As part of the sale we had to leave the poster, Nuff said….

  12. Ann M Urciuoli Allard

    Oh my!!! What would that ticket get you $&& on EBay now!!! Something to be said for being a pack rat 🙂

  13. Sarah Gross

    I was there – have my program and ticket, drove up with Linda Tumey amd friends, located my boyfriend climbing a scaffold in the distance and walked through massive crowds to him. We camped out in a tent by the lake, skinny dipping to wash of all the mud, Jimi and Janis up close and so many more. I still feel it in my bones ……days later drove home in someones VW bug, got dropped off at Linda’s house. Showered and clean clothed I walked home.

  14. I didn’t go to Woodstock–I was heading into tenth grade in the summer of ’69 and a little too straight at that point of my life to embark on that kind of adventure– but my older, musician brother did. After hitchhiking up there, he spent the first night with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. That same evening the Grateful Dead played for their small group. He also attended the Newport Folk Festival when Joni Mitchell played there.