Creating Woodstock (2019) - full transcript

For three days in August 1969, nearly a half-million young people descended upon Max Yasgur's farm in upstate New York for the rock 'n' roll event that defined a generation. Mythologized ...

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---
(logo whooshing)

- What happened at
White Lake this weekend

may have been more than
an uncontrolled outpouring

of hip young people struggling,
as they did, to survive,

first the 20-mile traffic
jams and five-mile hikes,

then the intense
heat and sudden rain,

the thirst and hunger from the
shortage of water and food,

just for the opportunity to
spend a few days in the country

getting stoned on their drugs
and grooving on the music.

(helicopter humming)

- [Richie] 100 million
songs gonna be sung tonight.



All of them are gonna be
singing about the same thing,

but I hope everybody who
came came to hear, really,

and it's all about
you, actually, and me,

and everybody around the stage,

and everybody that
hasn't gotten here,

and the people who are gonna
read about you tomorrow.

Yes, (audience applauding)

and how really groovy you were.

- So there we are.

We have a stage.

We have microphones.

We have a sound system.

But we don't have
any performers.

Every now and then
we'd spot one, (laughs)



and someone would go off
and round this guy up,

and he'd come up on.

That's how Richie showed.

That's how Richie played.

Richie was supposed to
play in the evening.

- I knew for a
fact, immediately,

Tim Hardin wasn't
going on first, period,

and I was supposed to
be fifth on the bill.

It dawned on me

that there wasn't anybody
else there to go on but me,

and they started
to come at me like,

"Richie, would you go on?"

I'm saying to myself, "Oh no,

"this thing is about two
hours and 15 minutes late,

"and people are gonna
throw beer cans at me,"

and I'm freaking out. (laughs)

So, all of a sudden
Michael's there,

"Please, Richie, please,"

so I went up on the stage,

and the minute I got up
there I knew that it was okay

because they wanted
something to happen, period,

you know what I mean,

and it was wonderful to
start off and do the set,

and two hours and
something later

I start walking off the stage,

and they go, "Go back,
there's nobody here yet,"

and I'm going, "Oh no,"

and I go back on the
stage, six times I think,

and I'm saying to myself,
"Oh, come on, guys."

What am I gonna sing the
next time I go (laughs)

I don't even know
what I'm gonna do.

So, I started
strumming the guitar,

and I started tuning
it at the same time

because it was out of tune,

so once I started strumming it

I really didn't know
what I was gonna sing.

I was fishing. (laughs)

I really was.

I was fishing for some
song to come to me,

and I just started
singing "Freedom"

because that was what was
running through my mind

at the time.

I just started
singing "Freedom."

* Freedom, freedom

* Freedom, freedom

- Richie was the first act
'cause Richie was there,

and Richie, of course, played
his whole set and came off,

and I said, "Great,
great, wonderful, man.

"Play an encore," 'cause we
still didn't have anybody.

I think he played three encores,

and that's how the
"Freedom" song got invented.

I mean, he literally had
nothing more that he could play.

He didn't know anything more.

- It was comical because
you figured he's done,

let's see who's next, and
Richie came out again.

Well, then he'd go off and
it was like let's see again.

No, here's comes Richie
Havens again, yeah, yeah,

and there weren't announcements
indicating that it was just,

we waited, and he came back,

and he came back,
and he came back,

but I remember when
he finally went off,

that the entire outfit
that he was wearing

was just drenched in sweat.

("Freedom")

(audience cheering)

- [Announcer] Mr. Richie Havens.

What better way to start

than with the beautiful
Richie Havens.

- It got to the point
where people just showed up

and we didn't know
they were there.

People just arrived.

They had been told where to go,

Holiday Inn, Best
West, whatever it was,

the hotels in the
surrounding area.

We told them where they were,

and they showed up there.

Everybody would show
up at the Holiday Inn.

The people who had been
working in this office

were at these places

to make sure that there were
enough rooms and enough keys.

Well, obviously,

twice as many people
showed up as were going to.

- We suddenly realized

that we did not have any
way to get any artists in,

that they were in the hotels,
that they'd checked in,

but the roads were
totally jammed,

and I literally turned
around to Annie,

my then-wife, and
still good friend,

and said, "Look up helicopter
in the Yellow Pages

"and hire every
single goddamn one

"you can lay your hands on."

We had, in the end, I think,

counting some of the
others, the military ones,

we ended up with something
like 23 or 24 of them.

- Et cetera, et cetera,

but we can't get through
that way for the time being,

so what they're gonna do is
they're try and raise the gate,

and get the helicopters to
come over here to this field

and pick us up, and hop
us over to the gate,

and we'll leave the
cars, essentially, here.

- So, what we had
was this empty stage,

and we couldn't find anybody,

and this is before cell phones.

This is you go to the trailer,

you call the hotel on the phone,

somebody yells out the window
a piece of information,

which is, "I can't
find anybody,"

or "They can't get through,"

or, "We don't have anybody,"

so, who we got?

- My manager came up
to me and he said,

"Leslie, whatever you do,
don't stay all together,

"'cause they need
groups to go on,

"and if they see all
you guys together,

"they're gonna get you on."

I don't wanna go on at
four in the afternoon,

so I stayed in one area,
and Felix was in another,

and it worked out.

- Joe McDonald had
gotten in there somehow.

He just drove in with somebody,

and John says to me,
"Can he play by himself?"

"I don't know.

"Hasn't done it in a while.

"Ask him."

- And I said,

"Remember we were in Amsterdam
a couple of months ago

"and we were talking about
doing it on your own.

"Now, please."

- Joe finally agrees to play,

but he says, "Well, I
don't have a guitar."

We found a guitar.

We push him out there
and he turns to me,

said, "What do I play?

"Do I do the cheer?

"Should I do
'Fixing to Die Rag'?

"I was gonna do it on Sunday."

I said, "Go ahead and do it."

Said, "Ah, shit,"
turns around, yells,

"Give me an F!" - Give me an F!

- [Audience] F!

- It was loud.

"Give me a U!" - Give me a U!

It gets louder.

By the time he says,
"What's that spell?"

It's really a kind of
a interesting thing

to be out there in
the middle of nowhere

and here fuck being
yelled back at you

by all these people
for the first time,

and from that point on we had
to keep putting people on.

We pushed John Sebastian
on because he was there.

He wasn't even, we didn't
even know he was there.

Somebody said, "Oh, I
saw John Sebastian."

- Felix got up there and he
introduced me to John Sebastian.

Was tie-dying
everything in sight.

Somebody walked by and they
got, (imitates whooshing)

ripped into their tent,

and they came out with all
kinds of colors on them.

I think he was
tripping his nut off.

That I know for sure, and
he was enjoying himself.

- [Announcer] John Sebastian.

- The press can
only say bad things

unless there ain't no fuckups,

and it's looking like there
ain't gonna be no fuckups.

This is gonna work.

("Coming Into Los Angeles")

* Coming in from London,
from over the pole *

- There was a bunch
of state cops on the

the helicopter with us,

and they were just talking to
each other and talking to us,

and we were just sitting there
wondering what's going on

and how come we
gotta fly in here?

And then I remember
just looking out

'cause the door was open
or something like that,

and you could just
look right out there,

and it was an amazing thing.

You know, when you look
at all the pictures,

all the aerial
shots of Woodstock,

you see the fields completely
filled with people,

but that was a tiny, tiny
part of where the people were.

There was people for a long
time that we were flying,

there was people underneath
every leaf of every tree

and every rock that
we was flying over,

and I was supposed to
play at some point,

some time later
than I actually did,

and because I was
just hanging out

I felt free to indulge
in some substance abuse.

I mean, nothing
big, but, you know,

and so I was standing around

just admiring the colors
and all the people,

and all of a sudden

this guy comes up to me
and says, "You gotta play."

I said, "What?"

"Yeah, you gotta play, man.

"You gotta play now."

I'm going, "Now?

"Now I gotta play?

"I'm not ready to play now, man.

"I can't play now.

"I can't walk now,"

and it was like I
couldn't believe it,

and so there was this
sort of tinge of, like,

uh-oh (chuckles)

that I really didn't wanna
deal with this at the moment.

- [Narrator] But while
Arlo was having a good time

and it seemed like the crowd
was having a good time,

the producers were on the
phone with Rockefeller's office

trying to convince the governor

not to send in the
National Guard.

- Rockefeller's office wanted
to send in the National Guard

to stop the festival,

and all conversations
with those people were,

"This is impossible.

"You'd really have a riot
if you tried to do this."

I'd come back to my office and
start fielding phone calls.

They were incredible phone
calls that would be coming in

from everybody from state
government to police.

They would say, "Can you
give us some information

"about this disaster?"

and I'd say, "What disaster?

"Everything is great here.

"We're getting along fine.

"We don't need anything.

"Everything's fine.

"It's great.

"Everybody's having
a great time,"

and I would just keep
putting that out,

and to tell you the truth, on
my walks everything was fine.

Everything was holding.

- [Narrator]
Everything had held,

and so from Richie,
Tim Hardin, Arlo,

and finishing with Joan Baez,

the first of three
days of peace and music

came quietly to a close.

* Home

- Amen.

(energetic rock music)

- [Narrator] John Roberts,

heir to the Polident
denture cream fortune,

and Joel Rosenman,

an ex-lounge singer and
ambivalent Yale Law grad,

were looking to write a
pilot for a television show.

- 1967, it seemed likelier

that I would be a TV
screenwriter than a lawyer,

and John was intrigued by
this profession as well,

so we concocted a TV show,

a sitcom about two guys

who get into nutty business
ventures every week,

and in order to find plot
material for our TV show

we took out an ad in
the Wall Street Journal.

The ad read something like,

"Young men with
unlimited capital

"seek interesting and legitimate
business propositions,"

which went fine for quite
a while for our TV show,

until one idea that came
in seemed reasonable to us,

in fact attractive.

We looked at it

the same way we had some
other business ventures,

only this one, with
some modifications,

seemed like a good idea.

We called it Mediasound.

We started building it in '68,

and built what came to be

the place to record on the
East Coast for over a decade.

- Joel and I were building a
recording studio in Manhattan

in the summer of 1968,

and we met a lawyer at that
time named Miles Lurie,

and Miles called us up, I
guess, maybe February of 1969,

and said that he had
a couple of clients

that were interested in
building a recording studio

in Woodstock, New York,

and he wondered if we would
sit and talk with them

about their project

and share with
them our experience

in doing such a project
here in the city,

and we said, "Sure,"

and so Mike Lang
and Artie Kornfeld

showed up one
morning in February

to talk about building a
recording studio in Woodstock.

- [Narrator] Michael Lang grew
up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

After dropping out of
NYU, he headed to Miami

and opened one of the
area's first head shops.

Artie Kornfeld, also
from Bensonhurst,

was already a successful
songwriter and record producer,

and the first vice president
of rock at Capitol Records.

One day Michael
Lang came calling,

looking for a record deal
for a group he was managing

called the Train.

- First meeting with Michael
is I was standing on my desk

smoking a little hash.

Okay I said that?

- [Interviewer] Yeah.

- Well, it's over
seven years ago,

and my secretary said,

"There's someone out here to
see you named Michael Lang,"

and he said, "You
don't know him,

"but he's from the
neighborhood, Bensonhurst,

"and he'd like just a
minute of your time."

So, I said, "Send him in."

He had just lost his
head shop in Miami.

I think he lost the
battle with the police

and they closed it 'cause
that's what Michael was:

he was a head shop
owner in Miami.

- (laughs) Yeah,
my recollection,

although it's probably
embellished over the years

is of Artie perched
on the end of his desk

about to fly off into the room.

He was a very delightful
character, as I recall, Artie.

At our first meeting we sort
of became friends instantly.

He was from the same
neighborhood I was in Brooklyn,

and it was sort of
like a kindred spirit.

(energetic rock music)

- We were given a proposal
for a recording studio.

30 of 31 pages dealt
with finding the site,

they already had a site, in
fact they had it under option.

They had plans for
the recording studio.

They had rough sketches.

They had a budget for
the recording studio.

They had the recording
studio project.

They had solved the
problem of anonymity

by suggesting in the last
page of this proposal

that on opening day of
the recording studio

we have a big press party.

There's even a chance,
this proposal read,

that we can get some of the
local talent to perform,

and the local talent was Bob
Dylan, and maybe Janis Joplin,

and Tim Hardin,
and John Sebastian.

I thought, "Wow, once they
hear that Dylan is performing

"we'll get people from all over.

"We don't have to bus
recording studio execs up.

"We can just sell tickets,"

and so we came back
to Michael and Artie

with that suggestion.

We don't like this
recording studio project

because we're in the dark

about our own
project in Manhattan.

We don't know how well
that's going to do.

We're hoping, but it seems
that the one up in the woods

has some built-in drawbacks,

but we think this
is very exciting

if we turn it into
a festival idea,

and we actually had
to go round and round.

We drew the line at
doing another studio,

they drew the line
at doing a festival,

and eventually we suggested,
"How 'bout if we do a festival,

"and then with the profits
from the rock 'n' roll festival

"we'll finance the
recording studio,"

and we struck a
deal on that basis.

Was a compromise.

(energetic rock music)

- [Narrator] Shortly after,

Michael turned his
attention to staffing.

He contacted sound
engineer Stan Goldstein,

who he'd worked with in Miami.

Goldstein agreed to help

and suggested they
offer the position

of director of operations
to Mel Lawrence,

who had produced such
legendary festivals

as Magic Mountain, Newport Pop,

and Miami Pop, in
December of 1968.

- As soon as we began
talking about staffing,

it seemed to me that Mel was
an ideal guy to have involved,

and so I chased him down.

- And I get a call
from Stan Goldstein,

and Stan said, "They're
planning to do a number in

"in New York.

"Are you interested?"

and I said I was,

and he said,

"You've gotta do this

"because this is gonna
be really a big one."

- I'd left Fillmore East,

and I'd worked on a
couple of small projects,

and one day Chip, Bert Cohen,

and a couple of other people
came and saw me in my house,

and talking about the project
and what it was gonna be,

and I was sitting there thinking
it was never gonna happen,

(mumbles dismissively)

and they came back within a week

and said, "This is
what we're doing.

"We're gonna go ahead
and do this big festival.

"We're gonna try to do an East
Coast version of Monterey,

"and it's gonna be three days.

"It's gonna be in Woodstock.

"It's gonna be
duh-duh-duh-duh-duh.

"We need your help.

"Do you wanna do it?"

There was one answer,

that was, "Yeah, sure,
please, let me, yeah."

- Long story short, what
actually happened is

I called Anne Weldon, who
was Anne Morris at that time,

John Morris's wife,

who became a principal
figure in Woodstock,

and I said, "My I share
your Liberty prints, please,

"and a bit of your wine so
I can bring Michael here

"because I think we've
got something going,"

and Michael and I
seemed to hit it off,

and John decided he was
going to be co-producer,

which was the only error
of the evening, (chuckles)

but beyond that
everything was perfect.

- The idea was that

the first day would be
a folkie-like-type day,

that the second day would be

more of an English,
stronger-type thing,

and that the third day would
be the American strength,

I mean, because don't forget,

you had the English acts were
major factor at that point,

and then there were
the California,

San Francisco, and
rest of the Bay Area.

- "Michael, have you
signed any groups yet?"

"Oh yeah, it's together,"

or, no, he wouldn't say yes
'cause he wasn't lying about it,

he'd just say, "Oh,
it's all together.

"It's together.

"Don't worry, it's together."

Not one group had been signed
(laughs) at that point.

- I had agonized

over whether we would
ask the Rolling Stones

to be part of the talent roster,

and their hit at the time
was "Street Fighting Man,"

and while there was, to have
the Stones on your talent,

in your talent package would
have been very powerful,

it contradicted one of
our basic principles

of trying to keep this
festival peaceful.

We just didn't want anything
that would stir up the crowd

to that kind of anger.

- There's, "No, I don't know
we should have the Doors.

"Yeah, I think Sly's dangerous

"'cause there's been riots
everywhere he's played

"in the last 10 years."

That's why certain
groups were not invited.

At that point it was just
inviting them and they'd come,

just for expenses to get there.

- Ian Anderson and I had
a real long conversation

about how he never
got over the fact,

and just never could understand

why Country Joe and the
Fish were at Woodstock

and they weren't.

He never forgot that.

I mean, he was really
pissed about it.

That summer I had
worked for the Doors.

I did some dates in
Mexico with the Doors,

and Jim Morrison
would not appear

because he was afraid he
would be assassinated.

I mean, that was his line.

I mean, he thought
he would be killed.

- Yeah, Joni Mitchell.

She was begging to come,

but she wanted to come
and Michael said no.

He even asked me at the
time, "What about Joni?

"What do you think
about? (mumbles)"

I feel really bad
about that. (laughs)

Feel guilty.

- Bill Laudner from the
Jefferson Airplane called me

and said, "Bill, those
rooms are really small, man.

"I mean, like, how
we gonna get there?"

Said, "Well, you
just get to Liberty

"and we'll take it from there."

- Actually, Michael says
that it is his fault

that Dylan didn't come.

They evidently didn't
lock in some way.

Something happened.

- The Who had turned us down.

We kept after them
and after them after,

and they turned us down,

and Frank Barsalona,
who runs Premier Talent,

finally said, "Okay, there's
only one way to do this,"

and we had Pete Townshend to
dinner at Frank's apartment,

and we got Peter up there.

We fed him a spaghetti dinner.

We chatted.

We talked.

We started pouring wine in him,

and pouring wine in ourselves,

and Peter just kept saying,
"No, no, we don't wanna do it.

"We wanna do Tanglewood
and go home,"

and at about five
o'clock in the morning

Peter is sitting
down in the corner

all scrunched up like this

saying, "All right, all
right, I'll play the thing.

"Can I go to sleep, please?"

We wore him down and
tricked him into it.

Not tricked, well, we tricked,

yeah, he would say we
tricked him into it.

They published on the
Live at Leeds album,

if you look on the album,

the contract from
Woodstock's on it.

- The phone rang in
this production office,

and someone hands me the phone
and says it's Stephen Stills.

They really didn't
wanna do this show

because there were gonna
be too many people,

nobody's gonna
know who they were,

they were really
unsure of themselves,

and right about that time,
for some weird reason,

Hanley was testing
the sound system,

and one of the very
popular records

that everybody was
playing that summer

was the Crosby, Stills
& Nash first album,

and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes."

It's blaring over
the sound system.

I stick the phone out the window

and I told Stephen,
"Okay, Stephen,

"they're playing the song.

"Everybody knows it.

"You should come,"

so he yells at Crosby,

"Crosby, they're playing
'Suite: Judy Blue Eyes'"

and he said, "We'll be there,"

and so they were gonna show up,

but there was this
sort of apprehension.

I mean, there's lots of people
who really won't cop to it,

but it is true that I
think there reached a point

in the late summer

where everybody who
wasn't on the bill

really wanted to be on the bill.

(anxious music) (birds chirping)

- Our first choice

was a piece of land in
Saugerties, New York,

700 acres right off the
Exit 18 of the Thruway,

absolutely beautiful,
gently sloping land.

- We met with the owner,
a fellow named Schaller,

shortly after that to start
hammering out a lease,

and we didn't even get
to hammer any little

one bit of that lease
before Mr. Schaller told us

that he had no interest
in renting to longhairs.

Not that John and I
looked like longhairs,

but he had already seen Michael,

and for an elderly guy

he really had his ear
to the ground. (laughs)

There was no
question in his mind

what we were gonna
use the property for,

and he just would
have none of it.

It was his farm and he loved it.

So I think we were
getting a little desperate

about real estate, John and I,

and at a certain point
we jumped in our car

and just started roaming around.

I think we got off the Quickway

and saw a sign
saying, "Property,"

and "Real estate for rent,"

or "sale," or
whatever, "inquire,"

and we inquired.

- And the Mills property

was the second or
third place we came to,

and it was appropriate.

Wasn't great, but
it had the virtue

of being owned by someone who
was willing to rent it to us.

- I'm sitting in my
office with my accountant,

and three gentlemen
walked into my office

and said that they wanted
to rent the property

for a small concert, maybe
5,000 to 15,000 people,

similar to what they
have up in Massachusetts,

and would I be interested
in renting it to them?

Well, at the time I
could see no harm in it,

so I made an agreement
with them, and they left,

and as they left, my
accountant's out there and says,

"Where are they gonna
find 5,000 damn fools

"to sit in the grass
and listen to music?"

- The Mills property was a
move of desperation. (laughs)

It was nothing
like what I wanted.

I wanted someplace that felt
natural, and open, and free,

and the Mills property

was land that had been misused,

chopped up,

and Mills' job was to
make it right again.

It probably would have
looked pretty good, I think,

by the time that we
finished with it.

Mel got a pretty
good crew together,

and did a lot of work,

and laid it out pretty well,

and I think it would have
been green and pleasant

by the time August
rolled around,

but it was not the ideal by
any stretch of the imagination.

(rustic blues music)

- [Narrator] Having to settle
for a less-than-perfect site

wasn't the only problem
facing the producers.

Wallkill officials
were told the concert

would feature folk music
and arts and crafts,

but some of the townspeople
weren't buying it.

- Well, we were having
political problems in Wallkill.

The town, which had
initially welcomed us

and given us the various
permits we needed

became concerned as the summer,

the spring and summer
of 1969 wore on,

that this was going to
be a major disruption,

and my sense was that

these were not people
you could reason with.

I can remember going to
one town meeting there

where Michael Lang, who had
very long hair in those days,

stood up to talk and
there were catcalls

'cause he had long hair,

and some guy would say,

"Is that Miss Lang
or is that Mr. Lang?"

That sort of thing,

and there was a sense that they
didn't like us generically.

- We attended many, many
kinds of meetings where,

since I was the
straightest-looking
member of the group,

I would do a lot of talking

to these town meetings

about what we planned.

I guess it was convincing enough

because a lot of
those meetings ended

with a lot of
shaking the hand and,

"Gee, we didn't know you knew
about this kind of stuff,"

but then, when they'd go back,

they'd say like, "Wait a second.

"Wait a second.

"This is all too nice,"

and I think they went
to bed that night

and said to their wife, "I
don't know about that guy,"

or, "I don't know
about those guys,

"no matter what
they say." (laughs)

- The issue of whether or not

there should be a music festival
in the town of Wallkill,

our only experience

had been what had
happened in California,

and there was some violence,

and there were some drugs,

and so on and so forth,

and I think that we didn't feel
that Wallkill was the place.

Even at that time

I think they were talking
about 25 or 30,000 people

in the middle of this
residential neighborhood.

It made no sense to us.

- At that point,

Dennis Cosgrove and
several other individuals,

some state police
officers in the area,

were quite concerned
with the project.

They retained me and
asked what they could do

to stop the project
at that point.

- My secretary calls me, says,
"The governor's on the phone.

"He don't sound happy,"

and I picked up the phone.

He says, "Nelson here.

"Howard, I don't know what the
hell you're doing down there,

"but get rid of it."

That was the end of
that conversation.

- At some magic moment

when Jack Schlosser,
the town supervisor,

suddenly began to take sides

and said something
about Richard Daley

having known how to deal
with crowds of hippies,

I lost my temper

and there was a certain
amount of shouting

going on back and forth,

and the meeting came
rapidly to a close.

- Right after he
gave that speech

I think is when he
sat down next to me,

and the people behind us
made that comment about,

"If any one of those
kids comes on my land

"I'm gonna shoot 'em,

"and I have the gun to do it."

- The middle of the night,
my wife gets a call,

"They're gonna burn
your house down,"

and later on that night,

about three o'clock
in the morning,

a friend of mine who
I grew up with said

called me and said, "I have
to meet you on a back road,

"and I don't wanna
be seen with you."

I'd known him all my life

and I couldn't figure
out the hell's going on.

So, I drove up there

and he told me that he'd
been sitting at a bar

and overheard conversations

where they were forming
a vigilante committee

to do away with me.

- They passed a law that we
felt was fairly definitive

in terms of foreclosing our
ability to use that town.

Well, we felt about
the only organization

that could comply with these
laws would be a monastery

whose members had
taken a vow of silence.

This law was designed
not very artfully,

but very effectively,

to preclude us having
a festival there.

If you have a law that
says no noise can emanate

more than 10 feet from
the property line,

you pretty much have foreclosed

children playing in the
backyard or anything else,

let alone amplified
rock concerts,

so we knew, when that law was
passed, that we were dead.

- I thought, in fact, that
we had reasonable grounds

and ought to try to stay there
rather than just abandon it.

However, that wasn't part
of anyone else's idea

of the right thing to do.

So, folks scattered
looking for sites.

- And the night
we lost Wallkill,

Michael came over and we
sat there giggling about it,

see, 'cause to Michael,

even at that point
when we lost the site

it was still like
we laughed about it

'cause we knew it was
gonna come off anyway,

and that's what was supposed
to happen: lose Wallkill.

- And when we lost
the Wallkill site,

we realized we had lost it,

although there was a
great deal of panic

and disappointment
for a few days,

it was always there's
a better one out there

and we're gonna find it,

and we did.

- [Narrator] With
time running out

and no legitimate prospects
for finding a new site,

a call from an unlikely
ally would steer the guys

to Sullivan County and
the town of Bethel,

just 50 miles west of Wallkill.

- We got a call from Elliot
Tiber the weekend after we,

that weekend, during the
weekend of our discovery

that we were no longer
gonna be in Wallkill.

- He said, "I have the permits

"and I have the perfect place."

- And Elliot said that
he had read about this,

what happened to Wallkill,

and he said, "I
have a big property.

"Come and see it."

Goldstein and I shot up there.

- The site that he had to offer

was connected to a motel

that was owned by
the Tiber family,

and Mel and I went up to
take a look at the site,

which turned out to be a swamp.

We wound up in mud
up to our knees,

and just covered with shit.

- And it was like
this giant bowl

with all these trees around it,

and Stan and I are looking at it

and saying there's
a lot of trees,

we'd have to cut
down all these trees,

but let's go down to the bottom
and see what's happening.

We went down, it's a swamp,
a total swamp down there,

and we said, "This
is impossible,"

and we said to this guy Elliot,

"What did you expect us
to do a show in a swamp?

"Put up a stage and everything?"

and all these trees,

and we were sort of
pissed off at the guy,

and we left.

- Well, but then there was
another call that came in,

and Mel and I went up together,

and we went to see Elliot.

We were meeting him
and a real estate agent

at his motel.

- And we met Yasgur,

and then he jumped in the car,

and it was the middleman,

and Yasgur, and
Michael, and myself,

and we went driving
around Yasgur's farm,

and the piece that
he showed first

was this huge field,
but flat as a board.

I look at Michael
and I say, "Wow,"

and 100,000 people, they're
not gonna see anything,

and then Max said
something like,

"Well, do you want something
with a little contour to it?"

and we said, "Yeah."

- And we came down Hurd Road,

and came up over the crest,

and there was the bowl,

and we knew immediately this
was our new home, somehow.

- The two of them stand there

without any assistance from
the Realtor or anybody else,

and all of a sudden
Michael says,

"This is where we have to be.

"What's the deal next?"

"Well, you'll have to
clean up after yourself."

"We certainly will."

My cables are still buried
four foot underground.

We couldn't get them out
with a bulldozer. (laughs)

Anyway, there's power there
for anything that you want.

Just let me know.

I'll tell you where it is.

- Yeah, Max actually found us.

Max was 50 miles away.

He'd been following the accounts
of our battles in Wallkill,

and when we were thrown
out he called us,

and Mel and Michael

went up to see him,

and looked at the land,

and called me, and said,

"You've gotta get up here
and take a look at this

"and make a deal
with this farmer,"

and I hopped on my motorbike

and got up there as
quickly as I could,

and I made a deal with Max,
and we hit it off very well.

He was a delightful,
charming guy.

- I'm sure that went
through his mind was,

"Hey, I don't have
these prejudices.

"I don't mind kids
on my property.

"I don't mind a rock
'n' roll festival.

"I think that'd be fun."

- The Yasgurs were decent,

gentle, caring people.

They came to our rescue.

There would have
been no Woodstock

without Max and Miriam Yasgur.

(crowd chattering)

- [Announcer] We have
a gentleman with us.

He's the gentleman upon whose
farm we are, Mr. Max Yasgur.

(crowd applauding)

- This is the largest
group of people

ever assembled in one place,

(crowd applauding)

but above that,

the important thing that
you're proving to the world

is that a half a 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.

(energetic rock music)

- [Narrator] But some of
the people in White Lake

didn't share Max's vision,

and opposition to the festival
being held in their community

began to mount, just
like in Wallkill.

- Max was a pretty important
person in that county,

and he had a lot of
good contacts there,

and we sort of felt

we were going to
generate some opposition

once people realized
what was going on there,

but that if we moved forward

with a sort of surge
of inevitability,

that we might just
squeak through

before the opposition could
marshal its forces and stop us,

and that's in essence
what happened.

I mean, as I say, Max had some
good friends who helped us,

and the opposition
never really developed

quite enough power to stop us.

They came close.

We had one huge problem.

We had sold about a million
dollars worth of tickets

for Wallkill,

so we had to make sure
that everybody knew

that anyone who had bought
tickets for Wallkill,

those tickets would be
honored in White Lake.

The press had been
carrying accounts

of how the festival was dead
and there wouldn't be one,

so we had to counteract that.

We had to continue to work
with our ticket outlets

to make sure they
continued to sell tickets,

so it was a nightmarish problem

for that roughly 30-day period

to make sure that ticket
sales went forward,

and that people
who were confused

about where this
festival was going to be

knew where it was going to be.

- Well, it's two guys

in a straw hat and overalls

with blunderbusses

saying, "Stay out of town."

We didn't consider
ourselves to be that at all.

We're a pretty rural area here,

but we didn't consider ourselves
to be country bumpkins,

but they certainly
painted us to be.

- I thought it was exactly
what we were dealing with

in that town, and
I was all for it.

- I didn't like the ad.

It just struck me that an ad

featuring two obvious rednecks

with blunderbusses, I guess
it looked like, is that right?

I seem to remember these
sort of caricature shotguns.

It went over the line for me

in terms of the anger and the
confrontation element in it.

I just didn't want
anything like that

associated with the festival.

I was outvoted.

- We got to White Lake July 15th

and the festival
was August 15th,

so it just moved forward
like a enormous tidal wave,

and we, by the time
that festival started

we had 1,000 people
hammering, and building,

and constructing, and
what have you, and it was

it had a sort of
inevitability about it.

- I felt that if we were
gonna do a project like this,

that we needed a technical
director like Langhart,

and to work with
Chris for 15 minutes

was to figure out this
was the greatest genius.

This was this strange,
Ichabod Crane-looking guy

who just understood what
everything was made of,

so I campaigned very, very
heavily to bring Chris in,

and I was right.

- We're standing on West Shore
Road looking towards Bethel

at about where the
bridge was overhead,

and over this way was
Phillipini's Pond,

and coming back
through this way then

you come to the heliport,

and then further
down in that low spot

where the office trailers
were, my office was,

and the payroll office

where the people
gathered in the morning

to discern which tasks
they were gonna have,

and then coming
across here we had,

mostly this road was blocked
up with people walking,

and overhead was the bridge.

We had a couple phone poles here

and a couple phone poles there,

and we had some, I don't know,
12 by nines or something,

whatever could be found locally,

to span the road

because I felt
that the performers

on the way from the heliport
to the stage would get mobbed

if there was all this
walking road business.

We had to have some way

to keep the performer pavilion,
which was on that side,

from the stage, which
was on this side.

Over here is the stage.

There's this kind
of flat place here,

and then the hill rises up,

and then there's
a kind of a dip,

and then it goes on again,

and so the stage was quite high
compared to modern concerts

because you have a situation
where if it wasn't,

then everybody that
was caught in the dip

wouldn't be able to
see the performers,

so we had no option here except
to make the stage real high

so that the people who were
down front were looking up

and the people further
out were looking across,

and the people from the
top were looking down.

It also extended the field

because you could then see,
from much further back,

the stage as a result
of being high enough

so you could see it.

- A lot of people
were getting cold feet

because they'd heard
that the festival site

had been shifted.

They heard that
there were problems.

There were rumblings
in the press

that things weren't going well,

that the construction on the
festival was lagging behind.

It was all true,

and nobody really knew
what was gonna happen.

- Most of that month it rained,

and that hampered our
ability to prepare the stage,

and build the gates and
all the concession areas,

and the roads, and the power.

I mean, there was just
an enormous amount to do,

and we were down to
literally 28 days to do it.

(raunchy blues-rock music)

- (laughs) It was an
enormous undertaking.

The plots and plans
that had been made,

and hundreds and
hundreds and hundreds

of thousands of dollars,

and hundreds of man-hours

had been put into
the previous site.

The Yasgur site
was just gorgeous.

It was just head and shoulders

for sheer beauty,

so much better than
the Mills site.

It was as though it had
been designed for the job

except that there were no
roads, there was no water.

We had to dig wells.

We had to bring in power.

Power had existed
at the other place.

So, suddenly utilities

became an enormous undertaking,

whereas previously

utilities had been a very
small, simple consideration.

- There were 650,000
watts of lights

sitting underneath
the stage rusting.

Nowhere to hang it.

There was another 20,000
watts on the Joshua Light Show

at the backing or
the rear screen.

The rear screen couldn't be hung

because we couldn't find a
stable enough position for it

with those five trusses.

The roof was never finished.

- It was a complex stage
structure to support the lights,

an exotic overhead structure
which, once it was in place,

would have been
quite extraordinary.

Unfortunately,
getting it in place

required the choreography
of enormous quantities

of people and heavy
equipment, a couple of cranes,

and this and that,
and this and that.

We had to lay roads,
enormous roads,

prepare road beds and so forth,

and all of that working
around Max's harvest schedule

and milking schedule.

Electricity didn't get
there till the last moment.

Telephones didn't get there
till the very last moment.

And so it was a haul every
last minute of the time.

(energetic rock music)

- First of all, they pulled
enormous all-nighters for days

to try and finish this.

The Thursday before
the Friday of the show

they were just barely
getting the sound down.

I remember Hanley showing
up with all this stuff

and just rolling
his eyes and saying,

"Where am I gonna put
the sound system?"

- No, I didn't wonder.

I designed and laid
it out to begin with.

We stopped the car and
get out of the car,

and I went walking up,
looking the whole thing over,

and found these
dips in the land,

and so I laid the stage out

and designed the V
and the security thing

from all the festivals that
I had done and watched,

had learned from
those beforehand

because nobody was really
out to make the concert

more like what you might
hear in the recording studio

when you're doing a mixdown:

fidelity, full
frequency response

as best we could
at the the time,

and then mixing it together,

and we were trying to do that

so that everybody could
hear and understand

what was being said to the
last seat in the house.

(raunchy blues-rock music)

- We didn't obtain
an actual permit

to do the show in White Lake

until, probably,
hours before the show.

In the meantime,

the local building inspector

was very conscious of the fact

that if we didn't proceed

with our work

that in fact we were not
gonna be in a position

to accommodate the crowds

and/or some other bad
things would happen:

the stage construction
would be even further behind

than it was.

And so we simply made a
little backdoor arrangement

that when we were
enjoined from working

while waiting for our permits,

while making our final appeals

on this and that and so forth,

and stop-work
orders were issued,

he would come by, wake me
up, I would go get my car,

and then he would start a
journey around the site,

posting stop-work notices,

and I would follow
along behind him

and remove the
stop-work notices.

I was not one of
the four partners,

so I was the most easily
sacrificed of the big names,

and so I,

what are you laughing at, Duke?

It's true, it's true.

Subject of midnight meetings:

Who gets arrested on
this one? (laughs)

- I had the checkbook,

and there were people

who signed John's
name who were not John

to those checks,

and suddenly we were paying

what amounted to ransom,
sky-high ransoms,

to get these things done
at the very last minute.

- [Announcer] Can you dig that?

New York State Thruway's
closed, man. (laughs)

- Well, there's really a hard
any way to explain how it was.

There was no firehouse
over there at that time,

with just a little grass
and some bungalows,

and we went to bed
on Thursday night.

There was no noise.

We got up Friday morning,

and this whole road
that you see vacant now,

all the way up through,
cars, people, jammed,

just one lane going all
the way up to the site.

- We had, oh, I think
it was over 500 acres,

might have been 600
acres, for parking alone,

and we had people
on that property

who could guide people in
and get them off the road,

but the state police
didn't get there,

didn't deploy their people

until hours after
they said they would,

and by the time they did,
17B was a parking lot.

- Well, the state police
didn't do anything wrong.

What happened, really, was

if we'd had the 100,000
people we were expecting,

that would have been
20,000 to 30,000 cars.

We probably could have handled
that without too much trouble

'cause we had hundreds
of acres of parking lots.

But two things happened:

One, we had four to five
times as many people show up,

so you had four to five
times as many cars.

Two, it rained,

so many of the parking
lots were a sea of mud.

- Obviously, we
knew then and there

that we couldn't put
people in parking lots,

and so we began to just hope
to seal off perimeter areas

way far away, miles away,

stop the flow of traffic
into the festival,

try to keep one lane
open in most of the roads

for emergency services,
primarily medical.

- I stood out on the Thruway,

or on the access road
from the Thruway,

with the state police,

trying to get traffic to
turn around at the exit.

It was impossible to
get cars to turn around.

I mean, they were
strewn everywhere.

- By Friday afternoon, there
were cars on every road,

in every field, for miles
and miles and miles.

In fact, I don't even know if
everybody ever got their car.

I mean, it's the thing
I always wondered.

I said, "Well, okay,

"did anybody just give up
and abandon their car?"

I mean, there were
cars everywhere,
literally everywhere.

- Frankly, the traffic jams
and all of the baggage,

and the impedimenta,

and things that kept
people from coming,

had we had another 100,000 we
would have been in deep shit.

("Black Magic Woman")

- I mean, when you had
60,000 people in a field

a day and a half before
the show was gonna start,

we knew that we were
in for something.

There was no question about it.

- There were 500,000,
600,000 people in the field.

There's another million
and a half people

physically trying to get in.

We're jumping to
hiring helicopters.

We're desperate to keep
water moving, the rest of it.

I mean, we had a
whole different thing

from this laid-back
concert festival

that we're just gonna have
and it'll all be gone,

and we're suddenly in the
city management business.

- We spent a great deal of time

conceptually thinking about
what we wanted to do here,

and the cornerstone
of our thinking

was this concept
of peace and music,

and peace was not intended

as some kind of code word
for "get out of Vietnam."

Peace was a shorthand
way of saying,

"A weekend of freedom from
whatever is bothering you.

"Just come to the country
and have a nice time."

And part of that, we felt,

was that the people
that came to Woodstock

should feel that they were in
a place that welcomed them,

that didn't fear
them, mistrust them,

suspect that they were
going to do wrong.

Part of the problem with
other festivals that we'd seen

was that there was sort
of a mutual antagonism

between festival-goers, say
people 18 to 22 or 23 years old,

and those charged with
keeping them calm,

and we felt this
didn't have to be,

so we designed the site,

we designed our security
procedures around the concept

of working with the people
coming to the festival,

making them feel
welcome and comfortable,

and Wes Pomeroy took a
lot of credit for that,

and properly so.

- There was a bottom line.

We said, "You can't
go any farther,

"and we're not gonna let you."

Well, we had never planned
to do that at Woodstock,

and unfortunately
never came to a test

because there was no gate.

There was nothing to defend,

but we had some very
specific strategies

on what to do about that,

and it had to do with

everything from having
Ken Kesey park his bus

right up next to the fence
and dig a hole underneath it,

so we let people just had to
fool us do it to my having,

planning to have a couple
thousand tickets in my pocket,

and becoming the focus

if we had any
confrontation at the gate,

and arguing, and negotiating,
and finally giving in,

and giving tickets, and saying,

"Well, I expect you
to help clean up,"

and that sort of thing,

knowing some would
and some wouldn't.

From the very beginning

it was not going to
be confrontational.

- It became clear to all of us,

just from watching newsreels,

that if the crowd wanted
to be unruly it would be.

This was quite worrisome to us,

so decisions that we
made about security,

about the National Guard,

about keeping the entertainment
going throughout the night,

about creating a
little baby animal zoo,

about naming our streets
Happy Way and Groovy Path,

and everything we put
out about this festival

had an element of
neighborliness,

and peace,

and respect for your fellow man,

and responsibility
toward society,

toward your society,
your counterculture,

and I guess in a way

you'd have to credit,
mostly, the audience.

- It wasn't a plan.

It was an accident, and
some very good people.

Wavy, no teeth,

that was Tom Mix's cowboy hat,

it really was, that
he was wearing,

you know, "We're gonna make
breakfast in bed for 600,000."

The accident of the
guru showing up,

and somebody coming
in the office

and saying that this Indian man

would like to speak
to the audience,

and thinking, "I haven't
got any acts: Why not?

"Let's put him on."

And putting him on

with all his followers
sitting around him,

and he and that high squeaky
voice talking about peace,

you know, "All the people in
the world should be nice,"

and he was fabulous, and
he just leveled it out.

- [Satchidananda]
But the time has come

for America to help
the whole world.

- It's funny.

I mean, all of it went
down very quickly,

but I saw some kids really
getting hurt on the fence,

climbing over the fence,

and I felt

that if we kept these fences up

and tens of thousands of
people were starting to arrive,

that it would be
really dangerous,

and it would cause
the kind of bad vibes,

a really bad scene,

and I started,

I told my guys to start
taking down the fence.

- He had all these great plans.

Everything was gonna
work like clockwork,

and then everything's
gonna be fine,

but there were all these people,

and I mean, did anybody
collect their tickets?

- And there were discussions

about how we were gonna
get these people out,

and it was simple: We were
just gonna go in there

and tell them to go outside
so we can take their tickets.

I really think at that time

we thought we could just

get them to leave and be
able to take their tickets,

or another thing
that was discussed

was to take their
tickets right in there,

but in any event, we were
going to take the ticket,

and those who didn't
have the ticket

were gonna have to
go out and get one.

- The question was, do
we call it a free show?

Do we cancel the show?

Or do we throw everybody
out and collect the tickets?

- There was this conference

immediately in the
morning on the early day,

and it was like,
"What do we do?"

And Artie made the suggestion,

which I have never figured out,

"Why don't we do like they
do in the Catholic Church,

"and get girls in
diaphanous gowns

"and give them
collection baskets,

"and we'll send them
out in the audience,

"and they can get the money,

"'cause otherwise we're
not gonna get any money."

- I thought it was a good idea.

I was a little
spaced at the time.

I was hanging with Garcia and
Hart for about seven hours,

and I wasn't quite
my normal self.

I said, "Eh, let's pass a hat."

- And actually, the hat got
passed a couple of times.

The bucket got passed,

and people actually
threw money in it.

I don't remember
how, I used to know.

I used to remember how
much money got collected,

but I don't remember, but
money did get collected.

- I can tell you made
it a free festival.

The audience made it a free
festival by being there.

I mean, there was no way
we were getting that crowd

out of that field and
bring them back in

through gates that didn't exist.

It just was.

They came early.

They came before we had a chance

to get the ticket booths up.

They came looking for
places to buy tickets,

and they just weren't
there when they arrived,

and so the crowd came in,

and there was no feasible way

to collect money for tickets,

and so it was really
stating the obvious.

- So, we knew going in

that if people came
without tickets

we weren't gonna be
able to stop them,

and it was part of the
philosophy of the festival.

There wouldn't be armed
people there saying,

"You can't come in,"

and so Friday morning
when we woke up

there were 50,000 people
sitting in the performance area,

and it was a fact of life

that we weren't gonna be
able to collect tickets.

- What then happened was
I went to the office,

sat down, picked up the phone,

called John and Joel in
the White Lake office,

and said, "Look, I mean,

"the obvious is the obvious.

"There are vast numbers
of people in that field.

"There is no way

"we are going to move
them out of that field.

"It's a free concert,

"and I think that
we would set a tone

"by going up on stage and
announcing the obvious."

John and Joel said, "Go for
it," so I walked on stage

and told everybody
what they already knew.

This is one thing that
I was gonna wait a while

before we talked about,

but maybe we'll talk about it
now so you can think about it.

It's a free concert from now on.

(audience applauding)

That doesn't mean
that anything goes.

What that means is

we're gonna put the
music up here for free.

What it means is that the people
who are backing this thing,

who put up the money for it,

are gonna take a bit
of a bath, a big bath.

That's no hype, that's true.

They're gonna get hurt,

but what it means is that these
people have in their heads

that your welfare is a hell
of a lot more important,

and the music is, than a dollar.

Now, let's face the situation.

We've had thousands
and thousands of
people come here today.

Many, many more than we knew

or even dreamt or thought
would be possible.

We're gonna need each other

to help each other
to work this out

because we're taxing the
systems that we have set up.

We're gonna be
bringing the food in,

but the one major thing you
have to remember tonight

when you go back up into
the woods to go to sleep,

or if you stay here,

is that the man next
to you is your brother,

and you damn well better
treat each other that way

because if they don't then
we blow the whole thing,

but we've got it right there.

(audience cheering)

- There was no sense that
this was a free festival.

We were sparing no
expense, really, to make it

to make it perfect, to make
it just as we had advertised,

so it's kind of amusing to hear
that it was a free festival

any more than it would be free

if I gave your camera
to somebody, (laughs)

or your TV camera.

It's free to them, but it
sure wasn't free to you.

(energetic rock music)

- Free stage?

There was only one stage.

It was like, "No,
there was two."

We were just tucked
over to the side.

We were hired on to
play for the overflow,

and who'd have thought

the overflow was
gonna be like 100,000,

and so we did our thing day
and night, day and night.

- We knew that some people were
gonna come without tickets.

I mean, '69, because it was
sort of part of the culture,

and we prepared
for those people.

We prepared free kitchens,

and free campgrounds,
and free stages,

and put a sound system
from the main stage

in the free campground.

- They decided to
set up the free stage

at the bottom of
that little hill

and make it better

with a little wooden
stage and everything,

and until the festival

really started cooking

with all the big-name
attractions arriving,

we were basically it.

There was one particular
afternoon, early afternoon,

our wonderful friend, Joan Baez,

showed up at the
free stage area,

and she wanted to take part
in the entertainment there,

and she sat there,

I would think for at least
a couple hours, maybe more.

- We didn't have any idea

of the historical event that
it was gonna turn out to be,

and so now, 43 years later,

I'm saying, "Jeez, I was
glad to be part of it."

Every time I'd catch a glimpse
of the "Woodstock" movie

I just feel good.

- There's a really
funny story that

that not many people know about.

I forget the name of the guy,

but there was a gentleman

from the New York
State Health Department

who was supposed to come

and inspect the health
facilities on Friday,

and this guy came
directly to my office,

and I was to send one of the
people that worked for me

around with him to
show him the johns,

the hospital setup,
the water treatment,

all the kinds of things that,

all the things that they
were concerned about.

He came with his daughter,
who was about 15 years old,

and while we were
talking in the trailer,

my office,

his daughter went
outside and disappeared.

Why, I'll never know,

but that guy spent
the next three days

looking for his daughter.

He never inspected
the health facilities,

which he could
have shut us down,

and I don't know what
happened to the daughter,

but she may have saved the
whole festival. (laughs)

- The first words, in fact,

said at Woodstock
publicly over the PA

were, "holy shit."

Chris Langhart and
I were standing on
stage with Bill Hanley

praying that the sound
system was gonna be finished.

I turned around and the sun
was starting to come up,

and I looked out,

and the whole damn field
was full of people,

and without thinking

I broke the vow I'd
always made to my mother,

never swear on stage.

I just said, "Holy shit."

- [Announcer] Wheat Germ,

Holly has your bag
with your medicine.

Please meet at the
information booth

as soon as you can, please.

Helen Savage, please
call your father

at the Motel Glory in Woodridge.

Helen Savage, please
call your father...

- Early on,

it became evident to me

that we could not provide the PA

to give all these messages.

At first we tried,

but then there were
just too many of them,

so we set up a message board,

and that was between people
who were at the festival.

- The warning that
I've received,

you may take it with however
many grains of salt you wish,

that the brown acid that
is circulating around us

is not specifically too good.

- I thought those announcements
were fairly important

for the individuals who made
them or who asked for them.

- [Announcer] Please be advised
that there is a warning...

- And it also gave us
something to fill with.

It was a far more
personal attribute

than it was to just play music.

"Joel and Jody, would you
please meet each other

"at tower number four because
she has your insulin."

Right, he wants to get
high, Jody's got the dope,

and frickin' you know
what they're doing,

but it's just, right,
what do you say?

It just has to be read,

so they became stars
in their own right.

("Raga Puriya-Dhanashri/Gat
in Sawarital")

- At some time,

maybe it was around one in
the morning on Friday morning,

Joel and I decided
to take a ride

to visit the parking areas,

which had been fairly muddy
that day from the rains,

but at some point
we crested a hill,

must have been a mile from the
actual site of the festival,

and we stopped our bikes,

and I can remember just
looking out over the hills

towards where the
festival site was,

and all you could see were
campfires at that hour,

and I had the sense

of this sort of massive
army before the battle,

waiting there, and I
don't know, it just

it reminded me of Henry
V, for some reason,

before Agincourt,

and of an army

waiting to go into
battle the next morning,

and it was a very still,
almost misty evening,

and Joel and I just sort of
looked at each other with this,

there's this look,

that great expression
that Keats has:

"With a look of wild
surmise." (chuckles)

What does all this mean for us,

and what will the morrow bring?

And then we went back to
the rest of our lives,

but it was really a
wonderful, still moment there,

which I'll always remember.

- When dawn hit,

I, after catching a
couple hours of sleep

in my office on the floor,

I went for another walk,

and I walked around,

and everybody was
sleeping, everybody:

the crew, the security,
the hospital people,

all the people who
had come to the show,

everybody was sleeping.

It seemed like I was
the only one awake.

I also knew

that elsewhere in the United
States and New York State,

they thought that we were in

this area of devastation,

and when the sun started baking,

and I forget what time it was.

It could have been
8:30, nine o'clock,

I found one of the
people from Hanley Sound.

I forget who it was, but I
said, "Could you turn on the PA,

"'cause I wanna talk
to these people."

I said, "I do wanna
say good morning to you

"and say wasn't that an
incredible night last night,

"and everybody, 'yeah!'

"and I just wanna tell you

"that today is gonna be
even more incredible,"

and I read off the list of
talent that there would be,

and then I said, "We
got a couple of hours

"before the show starts,"

and it was sort of this,

"Everything is okay.

"Don't worry about a thing.

"The show is gonna go on.

"We're not gonna
stop this thing,

"and everything's secure."

- What we have in mind is
breakfast in bed for 400,000.

(audience applauding)

Now, it's not gonna be
steak and eggs or anything,

but it's gonna be good food,

and we're gonna get it to you.

- I asked for $3,000 from
the festival to buy the food,

and when I went to town,

within a day and a
half I'd spent 3,000.

I went into the
office in New York

and got another
3,000 just like that,

and we bought all these giant
cleavers from Chinatown,

these big cutters,

and we bought 35 garbage pails

to put all the food in

so we could serve it,

and we had giant
stainless steel pots,

and five different stoves
were cooking at once,

and the booths were five booths

with 10 serving sides to them,

and they were always had
lines, real long lines to them.

I ended up buying
160,000 paper plates,

forks, knives, and spoons,
and about 30,000 paper cups,

and it's a good thing I did

because they all
went, everything went,

so that's how I figured

that we fed between
160,000 to 190,000 people

at the Hog Farm free kitchen.

- There were bagels backstage,

and by the time I heard

that there were some
bagels backstage,

they were all gone,

but my manager,

this guy they asked
for too much money,

somehow his wife put half
a dozen fried chickens

in the helicopter,

and at midnight he
whipped them out.

Nobody had any food there.

There was nothing
left backstage,

and all of a sudden
I turn around

and I see all the guys in
my group eating chicken.

I said, "Will you look at this,"

and there people like
drooling over these chickens,

and it wasn't too appetizing,

I was too nervous to eat,

but I couldn't believe
that all of a sudden

there was a barbecue back there

that we brought from the city,

and there were people,

it looked like people
starving up there.

- The clear recollection
of the difference

between how the performers
were being treated

versus what we were
hearing, or I was hearing

about what was going
on in the audience was,

it was a very lavish performers
tent if I seem to recall.

It was a big open
area made out of poles

with a big tenting over it,

and it was a large, a large
area with rows of tables,

and seated at this one table

was Grace Slick
and Janis Joplin,

both kind of like turning
around to each other

and picking at this food,

saying that the strawberries
were already melting,

and somebody should
take the helicopter

and go get more
frozen strawberries,

and I just thought that
was just a bit bizarre.

- I mean, people have always
wondered what Bill Graham

what Bill Graham had
to do with any of this.

Well, Bill didn't have
anything to do with it, really,

but he kept his finger in,

just as a presence.

He happened to be at
Grossinger's that weekend.

He happened to be there,

and he had convinced his
sister, who was from New York,

to bring this freezer
full of steaks

so that he could have a barbecue

out there on the lawn,

and he created this
enormous barbecue,

and I remember some
guys in the Band

and the guys in Creedence
at this barbecue,

and on one hand you've
got thousands of people,

and on the other hand you've
got this guy barbecuing.

It was very, very,
very portentous

of things to come in the future,

the division between the
bands and the audience.

("Evil Ways")

- We knew we had to go
with some new talent.

Santana was there

because I had seen them in
San Francisco with Graham,

and I just was staggered.

They were fabulous.

I mean, they didn't have a
record contract at that point,

but Graham was the power,

one of the major
powers, certainly,

as a promoter in the country.

He was very against festivals.

Graham obviously
wanted them there.

We wanted Graham's friendship,

and booking Santana, who
he was very close to,

was a way of quieting him down,

so they were booked because
they were a great band.

They were booked 'cause there
was political advantage.

("Dreams of Milk and Honey")

- For nobody knowing
who in the hell we were

we really got a good spot.

I think we went
on Saturday night

just before the
lights took effect.

And we used Sun amplifiers,

and Felix used four stacks
with four 12s in each,

and I used four stacks,

but when I did my solo,

all of a sudden I heard
the whole stage turn on.

My road manager hooked
me into his stacks,

and all of a sudden I had
eight stacks of these Suns,

and it scared me.

The sound is just
the movement of air,

and these speakers were pumping,

and I felt a gust
of wind push me.

I turned around, I said,
"Wow, he turned them all on,"

and then I was off then.

You could hear me.

I thought we could
have been much bigger

if we were in that movie.

I still haven't
gotten over that.

- [Interviewer] No,
and I don't know why

Mountain wasn't contracted.

It was just that at this point

things were not very
well coordinated.

We were just rushing

to do what we could,

and I would imagine
that our focus

was on getting the biggest
names we could to release.

- [Man] We got down to the wire

with no camera
crews at Woodstock,

with the exception of the
crews that Michael hired.

- We had a call
Wadleigh was in town.

I had to get Wadleigh
to come in right away,

to have him come over to sign

that he was gonna
direct it, okay?

And I just said to them,

"Hey guys, we've
spent $2 1/2 million.

"Why don't you shoot
craps with 100 grand

"so we could buy film?"

So they said, "Okay."

- The reticence on the
part of some artists

was not even so
much about money.

It was about, "Well,

"I wanna see what my
performance looks like

"and what it sounds like
before I release it,"

and that I could understand,

so I felt some of them would
like to be in the film,

but they wouldn't be in it

until they'd seen
their performance and
how it was recorded,

and then some of them
it was just money.

- Michael said, "Artie,

"you're the only one that
could convince these people

"'cause of your name
in the business.

"You gotta meet them
at the helicopter

"and get them to sign
that consent to be shot

"without us giving
them the money,

"'cause we don't even have
the money to pay for the show.

"You're gonna have
to convince them

"that they're not
gonna get 50% more

"to be shot for a movie."

Do you think it was easy
convincing these groups,

to convince Janis Joplin to
sign a paper to do a movie

when she was drunk?

To go to the Who

and convince them to sign a
paper without getting paid?

- Having the movie was
of great value to us,

even though John and I had
a small piece of that movie,

it brought us back to even
some time in 1980, I guess,

so it was lucky for us
that there was a film.

- The only two acts that
didn't play Woodstock

were Jeff Beck and
Iron Butterfly.

Beck canceled well
before the festival.

We knew he wasn't
coming, that was it,

but if you go down the list

those are the only two that
are listed that didn't play.

Iron Butterfly, whose
manager I think I forgot

the minute I ever talked to him,

sent me a telegram,

and then called and informed me

that their plane would arrive
in LaGuardia at X hour,

and that at that hour a
helicopter would meet the band

and would fly them
directly to the site,

whence they would go
straight to the stage,

they would perform their set,

and they would be then loaded
back into the helicopters,

and they would be
flown from the site

back to LaGuardia Airport

so that they could continue
on with their lives.

Yeah, sure. (laughs)

So, I called Western Union,

and I got this
operator on the phone,

and I said, "Look, I know
it is illegal in a telegram

"to say profanities,"

and this lady and I
developed a way to write

"For reasons, Unto,

"Clarification, Know,"

and we managed to send them
a telegram which basically,

as you read it and
it was printed, had
no swear words in it,

but going down

said "F-U-C-K, space, Y-O-U,"

and we devised it,
and we sent it,

and I have never, and it is,
what, 24, 25 years later,

heard another word
(laughs) from that band,

and it gave me the greatest
pleasure in the world.

* I want to take you higher

* Gonna take you higher

- Bill came to me and said,

"Sly's not ready
to go on yet, man.

"He doesn't feel the vibes."

Well, by this point I didn't
feel the vibes either,

and so I went to the trailer
and got by Sly's manager,

and asked Sly to come
down to his tour bus

down the steps to the tour bus,

and he came down
to this tour bus,

and I reached up,
and I grabbed him,

and I slammed him up
against the thing,

and I lifted him up in the air,

and I said, "You low-life
(grumbles gibberish).

"If you're not on the
stage in three minutes

"I'm gonna take your head
off your goddamn shoulders

"(grumbles gibberish),"
and dropped him,

and he just looked at me,

and his eyes were the
size of basketballs,

and he walked to the trailer,

and he said, "We're
on," (laughs)

and they went on, and
they did a fabulous show.

* Tried to raise me better

* But her pleading I denied

- [Narrator] But Sly wasn't
the only band causing trouble.

The Grateful Dead
wanted a do-over.

- For some reason I
remember them coming off

complaining about something,

and they wanted to go back on,

and this is all new to me.

I didn't know if you
were allowed to do that.

- [Narrator] And the
Who refused to play

until they got paid in cash.

("Summertime Blues")

- The artists all
wanted to be there.

I mean, no one left
and refused to perform.

Okay, the Who.

- If the Who don't get paid,
the Who aren't going on.

- The business side of it

was of great concern
to John and me.

Sometimes it preoccupied us

because it seemed like a
life-or-death situation

for the festival at that moment.

An example would be

that Saturday night incident
that you heard about

with a couple of bands
that refused to play

unless they were paid in cash,

and there we had a
wonderful relationship

with Charlie Prince
that came to the rescue.

Charlie Prince was our
banker in Sullivan County.

That night Charlie got into
a helicopter in his pajamas,

and was flown to his
bank at midnight,

and rummaged around,

and found me some
cashier's checks

that had by accident not been
locked up in the time vault

so that I could bike
to the festival site

from the command center

and pay business
managers or groups

who refused to let their

their musicians go on stage.

* There ain't no cure for
the summertime blues *

- Have this vision
of Pete Townshend

sitting on these
Who amplifier cases

swinging his legs back and
forth, holding his guitar,

waiting for Wolff to tell
him it was okay to play

'cause he'd gotten
all the money.

- That's why I do
not like the Who

because I was at that meeting.

How could you not wanna play?

How could you risk a riot
because you won't go on?

When these are the people

that gave you everything
that you have.

They love you, and
you're gonna hold them up

for a couple of bucks.

- Hendrix was the only act
that was booked to play twice,

and he was the most expensive.

He was the highest-paid
act: $35,000. (laughs)

Hendrix circled the
festival for two days.

We were unable to get him in.

- What I remember is
being in the trailer

and getting a phone call

from one of the local
little airports,

and it was from Hendrix,

and he was at the airport,

and he wanted to know
if we could pick him up,

and I tried to explain to him

that it was really complicated,

and I said, "There's just
no way I can do that."

"Is there anything
you can do?" he said,

"I really wanna get there,"

and I said, "Well, is
there anybody around

"that you might be able to talk
into driving you out here?"

And he said he saw, there
was a station wagon,

hang on, clunk, and
then he came back,

"Yeah, I think I
got that covered,"

and, "I'll be
there soon," click,

and two hours later or
something like that,

down the little road
behind the stage,

there's a Ford Falcon
and a station wagon,

light blue Ford Falcon, stops,

and Jimi Hendrix in
full Jimi-Hendrix-ism

emerges from the car,

and they unload his stuff,

and that's how he got there.

He flew in in a private plane.

He flew in in some
kind of small plane,

and he paid some kids to
drive him to the show,

and I mean, I remember
that happening,

but so much stuff was going on

that it seemed really
difficult to relate to

at the time.

(crowd murmuring)

- [Announcer] Looks
like we're gonna get

a little bit of rain,

so you better cover up.

- Woodstock and rain,
Woodstock and rain,

Woodstock and rain,

I mean, they're all the
same thing in my mind.

(thunder roaring)

- The thunderstorm, tornado,

or whatever it was
that blew through

when Cocker was performing

scared the living
daylights out of us.

I mean, a whole bunch of
things happened at one time.

- Well, the winds
were whipping up,

and they were whipping
these canvas things

that they had tied up,

and so guys were, it
was kind of like a ship,

and suddenly a storm coming on,

and the guys quickly
furling the sails and stuff.

I mean, guys were
scrambling around

trying to cover amps
and take down things

that were in danger
of being blown away.

- It was getting
a little dangerous

in that John Morris had
jumped on the microphone,

and he was a big hero then

because he sort of
calmed people down.

- The towers, which
were scaffolding towers,

had four or six Super
Trouper follow spots,

which weigh somewhere
500, 600 pounds apiece,

on top of them,

and because of the wind the
damn things were swaying,

and those follow spots
were moving back and forth,

and they were not chained down,

and it's one of those
things we forgot.

The immediate concern

was to get people
away from the towers,

and all of a sudden
I've got this mic,

and I'm saying, "Move
away from the towers.

"It'll be okay.

"Everybody just hang on.

"We're gonna ride this through.

"We've been through
everything else."

Please come down off
those towers, gentlemen.

Hey, cut the power
off here, all right?

The real answer is I don't know
what else I could have done.

Somebody had to relay.

Somebody had to talk
to all of those people.

We had some kind of symbiotic
relationship at that point,

and you couldn't walk out on it.

(mournful blues music)

- And then I remember
the sun came out,

and there was this
incredible stench that came,

you remember that?

There was this stench,

and it was very
uncomfortable for people.

There was debris all
over and everything,

and people were sliding
around in this mud,

and sort of like caking
themselves up in mud,

and all of a sudden the
mud became an activity.

- The New York Times,

I mean, or the Daily News:
Hippies Mired in Mud.

I didn't see hippies
mired in mud.

I saw it rained, and
there was a lot of mud,

and people having a good time.

- And the light at that
point was down in the sky,

and the clouds were overhead,

and it was, everybody
was silhouetted,

so when you looked, you're
seeing people up close,

you're all kind of
backlighted and silhouetted.

- The rain created something

that nothing else
could have done,

and what it did was it equalized
everybody at that festival.

Everybody was full of mud.

Everybody was wet.

Everybody was cold.

Everybody was together.

Everybody experienced the
same thing at the same time

and had to make it work,

so I don't know how many
people have told you that,

but I thank the
Lord for that rain.

- Without a unifying
factor like that

it could have been
particularly difficult

to try and take a
small city of 400

and perhaps close
to 56,000 people

and allow them to coexist
for that period of time.

Music went continuously.

Where did you eat?

Where did you shit?

Where did you sleep?

It didn't seem to
bother anybody.

- John Morris called
the telephone building
in White Lake,

which was our headquarters,

and spoke to Joel,

and told Joel that
we had a rather nasty

and potentially
dangerous problem,

that the crowd was
scraping the dirt

off the power lines that had
been buried in the ground,

and the rain had washed
away some of that dirt,

and there was some concern

that unless we could
divert the power,

that there would be an accident.

- "What I have in mind," he
said, "is to work a bypass

"around the area that
I'm worried about,

"and that will
take me some time,"

but when I heard how much
time it would take him,

it didn't seem that dangerous.

I mean, he said he
could probably do it

in a matter of minutes.

This wasn't hours or days,

and we agreed that that
was the way to proceed.

- On the face of it,
one would have said,

"Well, let's stop everything
until we divert the power,"

which was our suggestion,

but John advised us that the
Who, or the Grateful Dead,

or one of the groups most
keenly awaited by the audience

was just coming on stage
after a rather lengthy wait,

and that the crowd was restive,

and they'd been rained on,

and they were angry,

and that another delay
of 45 minutes or an hour,

whatever it would take,

might lead to violence,

so we had a decision to make:

could we divert the power and
keep it on at the same time,

and run the risk in
the next 45 minutes

there might be some calamity,

or should we shut it down and
invite an immediate calamity?

So, we went for the
potential calamity

rather than the sure
calamity, (chuckles)

and so Joel and I conferred,

and we decided that
we would take the risk

of leaving it on
and diverting it,

and that worked, fortunately.

- They're like
massive little tiny

snapshots of events.

There's the "The
stage is sinking!

"The stage is sinking!"

See, everybody would get
up, wanna be on stage.

I mean, it was really cool,

so everybody wanted
to be up on stage.

There reached a
point after the rains

that the stage literally
started sliding down the hill,

so they'd throw
everybody off stage

so there'd be less
people on stage

and they could save the stage.

("The Star Spangled Banner")

- People started leaving
on Sunday evening.

It was supposed to be
over at midnight, tops,

maybe 11 o'clock or something,

but it went all night
long Sunday night.

Jimi Hendrix, for
whatever reason he had,

wanted to close the festival.

Being that it was at
night, and people leaving,

you had really no idea how
many people were gonna be left

when dawn came up,

and as that gray dawn came up,

there was Jimi Hendrix

in this resplendent white
outfit with fringes on it,

and being an incredible
Jimi Hendrix fan myself,

I wasn't gonna miss
that performance.

Just seeing the people
wandering off slowly in this

sort of surrealistic scene,

and hearing "The
Star-Spangled Banner"

played in the manner
that it was played,

that's the way the
festival ended for me,

but there was a lot of
work to do after that,

but I kind of forgot
about it at that moment.

I just took it in,
smoked a joint,

and relished in it,

and said, "We did it."

(raunchy blues-rock music)

- You'd see people
wandering around

amidst all these old
blankets, and paper,

and lumps of stuff
laying around,

and people walking around
picking through it,

and kind of
scavenging through it.

- It looked like a
Civil War battlefield,

in those old photographic
plates they took

right after the battle,

where you'd see dead
bodies laying around,

and all the equipment
that they left behind,

and the other amazing thing was
there was a tremendous smell

that, of course, you
can't get from the movies,

or the pictures, or anything.

It was a horrible, rancid odor

rising from all
this muddy debris

that had been left behind.

I mean, and it went on
for acres and acres.

- I remained behind,

and a lot of other
folks did, as well.

Some of them were hog farmers,

stayed for a couple
of days to clean up,

and so there were simply
folks who didn't wanna leave.

They wanted to
stay there forever.

They had put tents in the wood.

They had built households,

and of course had

had no means of
maintaining their lives:

no food, no water, no
nothing, no services.

We took damage claims
from the neighbors,

insurance claims,
releases, complaints,

and it just went
on and on and on

for weeks and weeks and weeks.

- A lot of the piping
just got buried,

and the electric got left,

and the phone company came,
took all the phones away,

and the poles got taken down
that they were mounted on,

and the boards,

and everything just kind of
went back to normal slowly.

- I knew that what
they had done to the,

what we had done to the ground

was nothing couldn't come back

'cause they stayed,
cleaned everything up,

and then replanted it,

which is an agreement they
had had with the Yasgurs.

- If you were
technically oriented,

and were used to a level deck,

and life as you
dreamed it might be,

if you went through
those three days

it would have totally destroyed
your concept of order.

- We knew we were in the
middle of a financial disaster.

We knew that some
things had gone on

that we could never make right,

and then we had begun to hear

what turned out to
be fabricated reports

of dead bodies in the woods
around the festival site.

- Jim Mitchell told me

that there were bodies all over
the site amongst the trash,

because that's what it was:

it was a gigantic dump
site at that point,

and we were charged

with finding the dead bodies.

- I was at the bank in New York

talking to a bunch of
panicked and angry bankers,

and Jim Mitchell,

who had been charged with
cleaning up the site,

called me at the bank and said,

"They're going
through the woods.

"My crew is going
through the woods,

"and they're finding bodies,"

and I said, "Find out
the details for me,"

and he called back
about an hour later

and said, "I was mistaken.

"There is one death."

They found one body,

and apparently he was
accidentally run over

by the machine that
was compacting and
gathering the trash,

and it was pretty emotional.

Joel and I were
both at the bank,

and it felt like our world
had sort of collapsed,

and then this information

that this boy had been killed
accidentally at the site

felt like the last straw,

and I remember feeling
pretty broken up about it.

- John had really gotten
way over his credit line,

and the manager of the local
bank was so distraught he was,

we were afraid he was
gonna commit suicide

'cause he extended
so much credit to us,

and we had people
coming in saying,

"I have 10 acres here,

"and people have been
tromping all over it

"and staying in it,"

and we'd say, "What kind
of crops did you have?"

By the time we got through

we knew how to estimate an
acre of alfalfa, or corn,

or something like that,
and we paid them off.

- I spent a good bit of time

for the next, oh,
number of weeks

coordinating what cleanup
activity was going on

at that time,

returning people's
lost property.

There were a lot of
wallets, purses, things,

and we had a lost and found,

and we sent stuff
back out in the mails.

We took damage claims
from the neighbors,

insurance claims,
releases, complaints,

and it just went
on and on and on

for weeks and weeks and weeks.

- John was in a situation

where he had gotten himself
into doing something

and behaved at all times
as an absolute gentleman.

Looked at his options,
knew he was done,

and said, "We're
gonna go through this.

"We're gonna take care of it,"

and after the festival the
same thing with the debts.

He could have gone
bankrupt, gone belly-up.

The whole thing
could have been over.

He could have
walked away from it.

He chose to make sure that
absolutely everybody got paid.

Lot of respect for him.

- I believe that.

I mean, that was something
my father felt strongly about

was that you can
regain lost monies,

but lost reputations
are forever.

- It cost us $3 million, and
it was particularly expensive

'cause we didn't have
$3 million at the time.

When it was over,

we were a million and a half
dollars in debt, or more,

and no real prospect
for repaying it.

It worked out that
we were able to,

but it took us
quite a long time.

- We'd spent well in
excess of a million dollars

over the receipts.

The newspaper accounts of
Woodstock the morning after

were not friendly.

The Times had headlined it
Nightmare in the Catskills.

We had bankers, and creditors,
and just about everybody

breathing down our
necks that morning,

and when the smoke
cleared Monday morning

the banks said, "My God,

"we've paid out well in
excess of a million dollars

"over the original $250,000,

"and we have no
documentation to support it."

- One of the bankers picked
up our folder, I remember, and

in an attempt of emphasize
the points he was making,

and he was making points

about how irresponsible
and stupid we were,

he began to slam the
folder on the table,

and in so doing out
popped some of the papers

from this manila folder,

and one of the papers was
the personal guarantee form

obligating John and me

to whatever debts we had
rung up over the weekend

by writing all these bad checks.

The guarantee form was
unsigned, just evident.

You could see that the
signature part of it was blank,

and this fellow
stopped in mid-tirade,

and everybody at the table
looked down at this form,

and looked at each other,

and then, (laughs) and John
and I looked at each other.

It was such a wonderful
moment, especially because

the period of time,
that Monday morning,

was such a leaden period.

- And we said,

naively perhaps, but we said it,

"Well, it was our intention
to honor these debts,

"and we'll sign whatever
papers you ask us to sign

"to memorialize that."

- And I'm not sure that legally
we could have done anything

other than just honor that
commitment, that obligation,

but it did make the
bankers a lot friendlier

right at that moment.

(melancholy piano music)

- Michael and I have a very
interesting relationship.

We can't be too close, but
we can't really be too far

because we had a child together,

and that was Woodstock.

- I left the site, I guess
around noon on Monday,

and John and Joel I guess
had left the night before,

and Artie had left
early that morning,

and as I was leaving,

they were in Wall Street, they
were in a meeting at a bank,

and I got a phone call

that said you had to
come down right away,

and one of the last
helicopters was just leaving.

The guy offered me a lift,
and it was the first time I

I'd never seen it from the air,

and I thought what a great
idea, see it from the air.

There were 50 or 60
kids left on the field,

and they were
collecting garbage,

and I remember as the
helicopter took off

I saw that they were
dragging the garbage in bags,

and old clothes,

and they were piling them
in this huge peace symbol

in the middle of a field,

and that was the last
image I had as we left.

That was the first time
I'd seen it from the air,

and that was the image
that stays with me always

is that that's what was
left at the end of it.

- I mean, it was the seminal
experience in my life.

It was a major factor.

Would I like to go do it again?

Yeah, it won't be the same,

but it was fascinating.

I would love to
walk on the stage

and say, "Get off the towers.

"It's not a free concert,

"and I quit if anybody gives
a good goddamn," (laughs)

and call it done.

- It happened because of the
good vibes in planning it.

It happened because
of the dedication

of everybody that worked on it.

It happened because
of the weather.

It happened because all these
variables came together.

The time was right.

Everybody agreed,
the music, the peace,

everything was just
perfect for that.

- When the festival was over

and all this

trouble came down:

the dead boy, the lawsuits,

the pillorying in the
press, the loss of money,

the Yasgurs were
steadfast friends.

They didn't call and say,

"You didn't clean up
this acre or that acre.

"You didn't do this.

"You didn't do that."

They called up and said,

"Look, anything we can do
to help, we'd love to help."

We did clean up their land,

and Max called me, oh, about
a month after the festival,

and he said, "You know,

"I can't imagine what
you're going through.

"I mean, I know you're
only 24 years old.

"You must be having a
nightmare of a time."

He said, "I've
got a great idea."

He said, "Why don't you
come up here for a month

"and milk cows," he said,

"and no one has to
know where you are,"

he said, "You get in good shape.

"You'll get tired.

"You go to bed at night.

"You'll sleep well.

"You can forget about
Woodstock for a month."

I almost took him
up on it, (laughs)

but I'd met a girl and I was 24,

and my

my romance took precedence
over milking cows,

but I married her,
too. (chuckles)

- Well, I don't think you
can plan to have a Woodstock

if by that you mean a
spontaneous mass gathering

of tremendous
energy and goodwill

at which people
have a great time.

I think you can offer it.

You can set the
framework up for it,

but having it happen is,

it's a miracle.

- Let me tell you this.

Didn't matter how I went
into it and came out of it.

Didn't matter how
anybody else came into it

and went out of it.

We wouldn't be having
this conversation today

if it didn't mean something

to millions and millions of
people who weren't even there.

We wouldn't be standing
here with this camera,

and these questions,

and you wouldn't
be making a film

unless this thing
historically meant something

to a lot of people
above and beyond

what it meant for those
people who were there,

and above and beyond anybody's

what they brought to it
or brought away from it.

It's a singular
event in history.

- So that what was
learned at White Lake

was not that hundreds
of thousands of people

can paralyze an area
and break the law,

but that in an
emergency, at least,

people of all ages are
capable of compassion,

and while such a spectacle
may never happen again,

it has recorded the
growing proportions

of this youthful culture in
the mind of adult America.

Walter?

- And that's the way it is,
Monday, August 18th, 1969.

(wistful acoustic rock music)