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Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969

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The story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival was more complicated than the magical, peaceful portrait visitors recieved. Woodstock was as replete with scandal, graft, and corruption as it was with fellowship and high ideals.


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The story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival was more complicated than the magical, peaceful portrait visitors recieved. Woodstock was as replete with scandal, graft, and corruption as it was with fellowship and high ideals.

30 review for Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969

  1. 4 out of 5

    Literary Soirée

    ACID TRIP No way! Just no way it’s been a half-century since Woodstock. Hubs has a friend who went and emerged half brain dead because of all the acid dropped. HAPPENING It was that kind of event, along with a musical gathering never again duplicated with Jimi, Janis, the Dead, The Who, and a host of others from the peace and love era. STURM UND DRANG The intended focus is Woodstock’s creation, the Sturm und Drang of the planning, and BAREFOOT IN BABYLON captures that well. HENDRIX ANTHEM But where ACID TRIP No way! Just no way it’s been a half-century since Woodstock. Hubs has a friend who went and emerged half brain dead because of all the acid dropped. HAPPENING It was that kind of event, along with a musical gathering never again duplicated with Jimi, Janis, the Dead, The Who, and a host of others from the peace and love era. STURM UND DRANG The intended focus is Woodstock’s creation, the Sturm und Drang of the planning, and BAREFOOT IN BABYLON captures that well. HENDRIX ANTHEM But where are the photos, where is the soul of the happening that changed the American landscape? I so wanted to be in that throng, hear the electric twang of Hendrix’s Anthem, smell the aromatic ganja, feel the deluge of rain upon the face. LOVE BEADS, LONGING Alas, when I “came upon a child of God walking along the road to Yasgur’s Farm,” I could neither see his love beads nor sense the longing in his heart. 3/5 Pub Date 29 Jul 2014. Thanks to the author, PENGUIN GROUP Dutton and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #BarefootInBabylon #NetGalley

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    First published in 1979, this fascinating book has been reissued on the 45th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a marker that defined a generation and this book tells the entire story of how it came into being, from the initial idea until the very last song. Now, if you are imagining a book filled with music anecdotes, then that is partly the case, but be aware that three quarters of this book leads up to the festival taking place and only the last third actually deals with what happened at the fe First published in 1979, this fascinating book has been reissued on the 45th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a marker that defined a generation and this book tells the entire story of how it came into being, from the initial idea until the very last song. Now, if you are imagining a book filled with music anecdotes, then that is partly the case, but be aware that three quarters of this book leads up to the festival taking place and only the last third actually deals with what happened at the festival itself. That does not mean it is not interesting, far from it, but this is the full story of what happened and all the characters involved. The story begins with John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, who were interested in financing different business propositions. They were contacted by Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang with an idea for a recording studio/community for musicians which evolved into plans for a music festival. Not just any music festival though – a massive festival. What follows is a search for land in which to carry out their plans, which is fraught with difficulties, opposition and endless insurmountable barriers. These range from technical difficulties to security and the reluctant need for the help of the Establishment. After plans to use various locations ended in disaster, Max Yasgur became an unlikely saviour. With a place in which to finally hold the festival, they needed to book bands. However, this proved more difficult than initially thought, but eventually a breakthrough came through when some large acts agreed to appear. The first, pie in the sky, plans had included The Beatles, Dylan and The Stones. Well, none of them appeared, but once some headline acts were booked, it was easier to get people interested. What followed could have been a disaster. A lack of infrastructure, tickets not taken, grid locked traffic and pandemonium as people poured in. The authorities feared for health and safety, but eventually the festival went ahead. Joan Baez entered into the spirit of the times, by wandering to the free stage to play for those who could not get close to the main stage, but others were more concerned about what was unfolding. Ravi Shankar, ushered off the stage by bad weather, was concerned the audience would be hurt. Janis Joplin was apparently ‘freaked out’ by the crowd and retreated to the performers pavilion with a bottle of vodka in one hand and a bottle of tequila in the other and the intention of taking a lot of drugs. Meanwhile, the Grateful Dead demanded payment up front and in cash and Pete Townsend swatted Abbie Hoffman into the photographers pit after the revolutionary thought just before their set would be the good time for a speech… This book is a delight from cover to cover, but only if you are prepared to read a lot of detail. The music was obviously essential, but, for the crowd, there were other concerns. Rain, mud, near riots, a possible medical disaster, food shortages (there is a lovely image of a group holed up in the woods that wanted to, “liberate the food”) and possible electrocution was narrowly avoided. Eventually, what happened was a triumph for most, but there were certainly casualties of bad drugs and difficult conditions. This tells the whole story and I just wish there had been some photographs in the book, which would have helped me to picture all those involved. Still, a great read and one I heartily recommend.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dee Arr

    For anyone seeking the story of how Woodstock festival came together, look no further. This is the definitive book. Author Bob Spitz sifted through newspaper articles, pored over documents, and interviewed everyone remotely connected with the 1969 music festival. The result reads like a suspense novel, and the reader is taken on the same ride as the participants. It is amazing that the festival came together at all, and Mr. Spitz recounts the pitfalls on the way to the first note being sounded. I For anyone seeking the story of how Woodstock festival came together, look no further. This is the definitive book. Author Bob Spitz sifted through newspaper articles, pored over documents, and interviewed everyone remotely connected with the 1969 music festival. The result reads like a suspense novel, and the reader is taken on the same ride as the participants. It is amazing that the festival came together at all, and Mr. Spitz recounts the pitfalls on the way to the first note being sounded. I first read the hardcover back in 1979, and somewhere in a box is that book. I believe there were pictures in that edition, which are missing from the Kindle version. This would only be a minor issue, as the author’s words tell more than any pictures would. If your knowledge of the festival is limited to knowing a few of the musicians who performed, this is a fascinating recount of the event. Reading this, in fact, will provide insight into the principals who breathed life into something that began as a dream and morphed into something no one expected. Mr. Spitz pulls no punches, detailing the facts and letting the reader decide exactly what happened. It was not the bed of roses you might expect, especially when one considers the major differences between the four people who started the ball rolling. One can see right from the beginning that the dream would soon unravel, as the individual visions of what the festival should be were light years apart. Excellent book about a major event that was much more than most people could ever imagine. Five stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Leland

    WAY too much detail for my taste - endless logistics, legal hassles, financials. I wanted more about the bands, the music. Has a slapdash feel to the writing, with some odd diction here and there. Poor proofreading -- and surprising for a rock and roll-themed book to continually refer to Pete Townshend as "Peter", mispell "Daltrey" over and over, refer to "the Who" rather than "The Who", among other mistakes -- would be interesting to see how a true rock 'n roll insider would've told the story. WAY too much detail for my taste - endless logistics, legal hassles, financials. I wanted more about the bands, the music. Has a slapdash feel to the writing, with some odd diction here and there. Poor proofreading -- and surprising for a rock and roll-themed book to continually refer to Pete Townshend as "Peter", mispell "Daltrey" over and over, refer to "the Who" rather than "The Who", among other mistakes -- would be interesting to see how a true rock 'n roll insider would've told the story. The Middletown, NY of 1969 comes out looking absolutely awful. Glad though to know the story -- Woodstock was both a disaster and an unprecendted success.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Barefoot in Babylon is a concise history of how the Woodstock Music and Art Fair came to be. This being the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, it seemed like the perfect time to give this one a go. The book is thoroughly researched and packed with a lot of details of what went on behind the scenes. It's written in a way that keeps the readers attention and makes you feel like you are in the room with John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Michael Lang, and Artie Kornfeld on February 6, 1969 when the idea is p Barefoot in Babylon is a concise history of how the Woodstock Music and Art Fair came to be. This being the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, it seemed like the perfect time to give this one a go. The book is thoroughly researched and packed with a lot of details of what went on behind the scenes. It's written in a way that keeps the readers attention and makes you feel like you are in the room with John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Michael Lang, and Artie Kornfeld on February 6, 1969 when the idea is pitched by Lang and Kornfeld to Roberts and Rosenman, and you're with them every step of the way until the festival closes. You are taken on the rollercoaster ride of the planning, negotiations with various entities, setbacks, and victories that Woodstock Ventures endured to put on the now iconic festival and at the festival itself listening to the music and experiencing the atmosphere. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of this period of time or lived it, is a fan of the music, or wants to learn more about Woodstock itself and all that went in to putting it together. I found it to be completely fascinating. I was amazed by all the things these four went through in putting Woodstock together and seeing it through to the end. The author does an excellent job of giving you a lot of information, but in a way that doesn't overwhelm the reader. My appreciation to NetGalley, Bob Spitz, and Penguin Group Dutton for gifting me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Scott Butler

    Incredibly detailed and engrossing An essential read if you're at all interested how Woodstock happened. This is probably the best researched, most detailed book on Woodstock to date...every aspect of the planning and production seems to be covered at a level of detail that's absent from the books by Micheal Lang and Roberts/Rosenman. Recommended. Incredibly detailed and engrossing An essential read if you're at all interested how Woodstock happened. This is probably the best researched, most detailed book on Woodstock to date...every aspect of the planning and production seems to be covered at a level of detail that's absent from the books by Micheal Lang and Roberts/Rosenman. Recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    This book is about what went on behind the scenes at Woodstock. Surprisingly readable, and entertaining. If you are interested in how they raised money for the festival or how they rented the portajohns or how they got all those stars to appear on one stage read this book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MB KARAPCIK

    Did you ever fantasize about going to Woodstock? When I was much younger, I thought it would be so cool to attend one of the most famous rock festivals of all time. The music, the debauchery, the togetherness--I believed that it was all peace and love and guitars. After reading this book, my opinion changed drastically because it sounded like an utter disaster even without the mud. This book was written about the conception of the festival and the whole process right up to the bitter end. Two bu Did you ever fantasize about going to Woodstock? When I was much younger, I thought it would be so cool to attend one of the most famous rock festivals of all time. The music, the debauchery, the togetherness--I believed that it was all peace and love and guitars. After reading this book, my opinion changed drastically because it sounded like an utter disaster even without the mud. This book was written about the conception of the festival and the whole process right up to the bitter end. Two businessmen and two hippies develop the festival, spending tons of cash, bending over backwards to get the right artists, the right venue, and to pull it off without a hitch. But, let me tell you, there was nothing but hitches. Right from the start, the logistics sounded incredibly complex and coupled with the difficulties of getting a venue, it's amazing there even was a festival. Until you start reading, you cannot even imagine how much work went into bringing this festival to life. There's so much push back from the towns where they want to host the festival, from the police force who may provide security, from the commune of hippies who come out to help, and even from the musicians who demand heaven and earth. So much information to read about it, but it's very dense with details, so sometimes it moves along at a very slow pace. My other caveat is that I wanted way more stories about the bands and artists who perform and felt it just brushed over the musicians with a little bit of color. For instance, I watched a documentary or read a book (I cannot remember exactly) on Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young a while ago, and I learned that Neil Young did not want the cameras poised at him at all. As you may suspect, he was very anti-commercialism and wanted the music to be the star. Some stories like this appeared like Jimi Hendrix hiding out until the last day and how both Janis Joplin and Grace Slick from Jefferson Airplane felt intimidated by the immense crowds. I really wanted more of that. Despite my disappointment, this chronicle dispels the notions that this festival only evoked peace, love, and understanding. Back in college, I wrote a short story for one of my writing classes about a girl attending the festival, and I wish I knew about this book. It would have changed my perspective, and actually I would love to read a book written from a festival goer's experiences to get a full picture.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Barefoot in Babylon is a concise history of how the Woodstock Music and Art Fair came to be. This being the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, it seemed like the perfect time to give this one a go. The book is thoroughly researched and packed with a lot of details of what went on behind the scenes. It's written in a way that keeps the readers attention and makes you feel like you are in the room with John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Michael Lang, and Artie Kornfeld on February 6, 1969 when the idea is p Barefoot in Babylon is a concise history of how the Woodstock Music and Art Fair came to be. This being the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, it seemed like the perfect time to give this one a go. The book is thoroughly researched and packed with a lot of details of what went on behind the scenes. It's written in a way that keeps the readers attention and makes you feel like you are in the room with John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Michael Lang, and Artie Kornfeld on February 6, 1969 when the idea is pitched by Lang and Kornfeld to Roberts and Rosenman, and you're with them every step of the way until the festival closes. You are taken on the rollercoaster ride of the planning, negotiations with various entities, setbacks, and victories that Woodstock Ventures endured to put on the now iconic festival and at the festival itself listening to the music and experiencing the atmosphere. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of this period of time or lived it, is a fan of the music, or wants to learn more about Woodstock itself and all that went in to putting it together. I found it to be completely fascinating. I was amazed by all the things these four went through in putting Woodstock together and seeing it through to the end. The author does an excellent job of giving you a lot of information, but in a way that doesn't overwhelm the reader. My appreciation to NetGalley, Bob Spitz, and Penguin Group Dutton for gifting me an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom Jokic

    This is a great book giving a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the staging of the Woodstock Festival. It deals with the personalities and egos of the main organizers - their various strengths and flaws - and how they managed, against staggering odds and massive pushback - to stage an event that lives in the minds of many as the epitome of the hippie movement. If you're only interested in the music and the artists - this is not the book for you. This tells the story of the massive undertaking a This is a great book giving a detailed behind-the-scenes look at the staging of the Woodstock Festival. It deals with the personalities and egos of the main organizers - their various strengths and flaws - and how they managed, against staggering odds and massive pushback - to stage an event that lives in the minds of many as the epitome of the hippie movement. If you're only interested in the music and the artists - this is not the book for you. This tells the story of the massive undertaking and obstacles of putting on the festival - and it gets deep into the mud - but it is truly an exceptional book. Found it in a Florida airport bookstore in Feb 2020 and was drawn to it instantly. I roared through it in a couple of days.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

    It was an interesting read, but a real slog to get through it. It's all about everything that went into planning the festival, all of the challenges and roadblocks, and how they finally, actually pulled it off. I suppose that before I read this, I just thought a bunch of bands showed up and played for free out in a farm field. I never thought about local government regulations, and roads, and parking, and food, and security, and electricity, and plumbing, etc. There is surprising little about th It was an interesting read, but a real slog to get through it. It's all about everything that went into planning the festival, all of the challenges and roadblocks, and how they finally, actually pulled it off. I suppose that before I read this, I just thought a bunch of bands showed up and played for free out in a farm field. I never thought about local government regulations, and roads, and parking, and food, and security, and electricity, and plumbing, etc. There is surprising little about the music and performers in this book. I give it 2.5 stars, rounding up to 3 because I feel like a learned a lot... just very slowly.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I want to upgrade the stars to 4.5. I really enjoyed this detailed look at Woodstock and it's many players and participants. I learned several new tidbits that I had not heard before. Interesting if you are interested in this era. I want to upgrade the stars to 4.5. I really enjoyed this detailed look at Woodstock and it's many players and participants. I learned several new tidbits that I had not heard before. Interesting if you are interested in this era.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Betsy Eastman

    This book is really good if you’re really into Woodstock and all the nitty gritty details! I got this last summer and I’ve picked it up now and then when I have time. I enjoyed being teleported back to 1969 and feeling like I was there amongst the chaos and beauty of the whole festival.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Very whispy thin regarding the music. Really a slog to get thru, but a cool book!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Otis Doss III

    I read this back in college, in the late '70s. It is a very interesting story about how the 1969 Woodstock music festival came to be. I read this back in college, in the late '70s. It is a very interesting story about how the 1969 Woodstock music festival came to be.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kemp

    A Great Read About A Seminal Event in American History Thoroughly researched and sourced history of what started as a lightbulb of an idea and ended up defining a generation.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim Carroll

    An amazingly detailed, behind the scenes, look at an iconic moment in time. The short, chaotic, frantic months of hope, fear and panic as the counter culture is birthed and quickly sold to a corporation for a pittance.

  18. 4 out of 5

    This Feral Housewife

    Loved this book!! It’s like actually being there. Feeling the energy and the crowds. The music and the art must have been amazing.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Howard

    I bought this book because I read Bob Spitz’s excellent biographies of Ronald Reagan and The Beatles. When the book arrived I was unsure if Robert Spitz was the same as Bob Spitz. It read differently than the two later books. Even though the style is quite different; it’s still a good read. It’s not easy to describe a slow motion disaster when the reader already knows how it played out. But Robert Spitz did anterior job, bringing all the disparate players to life and showing what went wrong, and I bought this book because I read Bob Spitz’s excellent biographies of Ronald Reagan and The Beatles. When the book arrived I was unsure if Robert Spitz was the same as Bob Spitz. It read differently than the two later books. Even though the style is quite different; it’s still a good read. It’s not easy to describe a slow motion disaster when the reader already knows how it played out. But Robert Spitz did anterior job, bringing all the disparate players to life and showing what went wrong, and what went right at this epic event.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    It is fascinating to me how bad the relationships were among some of the key people putting this festival together. It also amazes me how naive and business dumb the person behind the money for the festival was. If any of those statements intrigue you, then read this book. If you have a strange fascination with the festival in any way, read this book. I find this era extremely interesting and I wanted to see how this penultimate festival came together. You will read a lot about the lead up to the It is fascinating to me how bad the relationships were among some of the key people putting this festival together. It also amazes me how naive and business dumb the person behind the money for the festival was. If any of those statements intrigue you, then read this book. If you have a strange fascination with the festival in any way, read this book. I find this era extremely interesting and I wanted to see how this penultimate festival came together. You will read a lot about the lead up to the festival and sometimes it actually is overboard. For example, I have no clue how many names are mentioned in this book, but I am thinking about 7 are the true keys players. After reading the book, there are 7 names I can list off and their roles in getting the festival together and contributing to it. Almost everyone else, yes they played a role, but it wasn't necessary to go so in depth to their background because they did that one thing and that was it. Other than that one small critique, the only other thing I would have enjoyed more is getting insight to the actual festival days more. You do get a chunk of it in the last part of the book, but I could read for days on this festival so I wanted more. It was interesting to learn some of things that happens because I have heard major misconceptions on what really happened at/with the festival.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    See this review on 1776books... http://1776books.blogspot.com/2014/09... Incredibly engrossing, Bob Spitz's Barefoot in Babylon tells the often harrowing behind-the-scenes story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival. People usually think of Woodstock as the epitome of peace, where a bunch of hippies sat for a few days in a big field listening to music icons like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Reading about the organizers' tough journey to put the festival on, along with what actually too See this review on 1776books... http://1776books.blogspot.com/2014/09... Incredibly engrossing, Bob Spitz's Barefoot in Babylon tells the often harrowing behind-the-scenes story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival. People usually think of Woodstock as the epitome of peace, where a bunch of hippies sat for a few days in a big field listening to music icons like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Reading about the organizers' tough journey to put the festival on, along with what actually took place that August weekend, is absolutely riveting. Spitz starts at the very beginning, when Woodstock was just an idea in Michael Lang's mind. Once Lang convinced a core group to get in on the action and they found a place to have the festival, they all needed to start organizing the performers, layout, sanitation, concessions, security, and a million other details. To top everything off, they were met with a huge amount of resistance from the neighbors of the original festival location, so much so that they had to pick up and leave. When people say that dairy farmer Max Yasgur saved Woodstock, they couldn't be more correct. Spitz had a multitude of reliable primary sources when writing Barefoot in Babylon, including access to the organizers themselves, along with their papers and memorabilia. He also has an uncanny ability of making you seem like you're right there in the action, which for most of us, is the only way we would ever be able to experience Woodstock. MY RATING - 5

  22. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm Frawley

    This incredible book by Bob Spitz was written 10 years after the Woodstock Festival and the research that went into it is phenomenal. With a cast of, literally, hundreds, Spitz captures what appears to be every moment, from inception to finale on the muddied pastures of Max Yasgur's farm. Woodstock's 4 co-creators (2 pairs of 2) are the unlikeliest team you could imagine but they somehow see this extraordinary event through trial & tribulation to triumph yet financial ruin without ever turning t This incredible book by Bob Spitz was written 10 years after the Woodstock Festival and the research that went into it is phenomenal. With a cast of, literally, hundreds, Spitz captures what appears to be every moment, from inception to finale on the muddied pastures of Max Yasgur's farm. Woodstock's 4 co-creators (2 pairs of 2) are the unlikeliest team you could imagine but they somehow see this extraordinary event through trial & tribulation to triumph yet financial ruin without ever turning their backs on each other. In spite of the fact that there were times when at least 2 of them wanted to kill 1 of the others. Between them they hired dozens upon dozens of experts to take care of sanitation, food & water, power, security & 100 other elements essential to an open air music festival. Such is Spitz's skill that we get to know them all. And we haven't even got to the performers yet! Any baby boomer with an interest in music or recent history should grab & devour this & anyone younger might be staggered by what can be achieved, on the grandest scale ever, without mobile phones or the internet. And there's plenty in here that those of us who think we already knew a fair bit about Woodstock will be surprised by. For example, celebrity hippie Abbie Hoffman extorting $10,000 from the festival's organisers so he won't bad-mouth them in the underground press. It was not the only extortion they would endure and they would eventually have to give away their stake in the documentary film that would gross $50,000,000 in the 1970s alone. Unreservedly recommended.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike Walter

    I was in Woodstock NY a few months ago and decided I wanted to read a little about the musical festival that didn't happen there but bears its name. I chose to download this particular book out of all my options and boy am I sorry. While I was interested in the planning snafus and personalities of the 4 men who brought Woodstock to fruition I was not ready to be mired in the minutia of every tiny details. I made a note after one section "did we really need a history of the Wallkill town hall?" w I was in Woodstock NY a few months ago and decided I wanted to read a little about the musical festival that didn't happen there but bears its name. I chose to download this particular book out of all my options and boy am I sorry. While I was interested in the planning snafus and personalities of the 4 men who brought Woodstock to fruition I was not ready to be mired in the minutia of every tiny details. I made a note after one section "did we really need a history of the Wallkill town hall?" which pretty much sums up my feelings about the book. The only reason I hung with it was I wanted to get to the actual music part - 80% of the way through the book Richie Havens finally plays the first note of the festival by the way - but again, what a disappointment. Why would a guy write a book about the most iconic musical festival of all time and then gloss over the music? I learned more about the acts who played Woodstock reading the Wikipedia page for the festival then I did in this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike Walter

    What a disappointment I was in Woodstock NY a few months ago and decided I wanted to read a little about the musical festival that didn't happen there but bears its name. I chose to download this particular book out of all my options and boy am I sorry. While I was interested in the planning snafus and personalities of the 4 men who brought Woodstock to fruition I was not ready to be mired in the minutia of every tiny details. I made a note after one section "did we really need a history of the W What a disappointment I was in Woodstock NY a few months ago and decided I wanted to read a little about the musical festival that didn't happen there but bears its name. I chose to download this particular book out of all my options and boy am I sorry. While I was interested in the planning snafus and personalities of the 4 men who brought Woodstock to fruition I was not ready to be mired in the minutia of every tiny details. I made a note after one section "did we really need a history of the Wallkill town hall?" which pretty much sums up my feelings about the book. The only reason I hung with it was I wanted to get to the actual music part - 80% of the way through the book Richie Havens finally plays the first note of the festival by the way - but again, what a disappointment. Why would a guy write a book about the most iconic musical festival of all time and then gloss over the music? I learned more about the acts who played Woodstock reading the Wikipedia page for the festival then I did in this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

    Bob Spitz has done a superb job in capturing the preparations and backstage "goings on" regarding the Woodstock Music Festival. He has painstakingly researched the financial aspects, the signing of the acts, the clearing of both sites, the legal problems associated with the festival and more. After having read the book I am somewhat surprised there were not more tragic mishaps. Three days of peace and love cost a lot in money, manpower, frayed nerves, disputes and the list goes on and on. I now Bob Spitz has done a superb job in capturing the preparations and backstage "goings on" regarding the Woodstock Music Festival. He has painstakingly researched the financial aspects, the signing of the acts, the clearing of both sites, the legal problems associated with the festival and more. After having read the book I am somewhat surprised there were not more tragic mishaps. Three days of peace and love cost a lot in money, manpower, frayed nerves, disputes and the list goes on and on. I now look at the Woodstock Festival as more of a marvel than I had previously imagined. Thank you, Bob Spitz for such a thorough book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Hofmann

    Having been of age during this event I thought I knew the workings of it fairly well...lots of luck and a kindly farmer, right? I couldn't be more wrong. This a story of a couple of out of the box thinking long hairs who have no problem getting high and espousing free this and that all the while spending their backers dollars like monopoly money. That coupled with the wheeling and dealing of all the diverse personalities and throw in an irate Sullivan County populace and you have a recipe for a Having been of age during this event I thought I knew the workings of it fairly well...lots of luck and a kindly farmer, right? I couldn't be more wrong. This a story of a couple of out of the box thinking long hairs who have no problem getting high and espousing free this and that all the while spending their backers dollars like monopoly money. That coupled with the wheeling and dealing of all the diverse personalities and throw in an irate Sullivan County populace and you have a recipe for a suspenseful read. As I read, I almost wondered if they would actually pull it off!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Flynn

    Considering the book was about a highly interesting time period, I definitely enjoyed it. It constructed vivid images in the mind of the good times, the bad times, the sickening times, the times you felt bad for anybody and everybody; it was like you were right there, only present day, seeing the shocking reality of the event itself, and what went into creating it. It had a good flow, I was pleasantly impressed.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Troy Pelfrey

    I selected this book because August 2014 will be the 45th anniversary of Woodstock and I wanted to learn more about what went on behind the scenes. This is a well written account of how all the pieces came together. I found it ironic that a festival billed as a weekend of music love and peace was filled with greed, egotistical backstabbers.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Lyon

    An incredibly detailed look at what it took to put on the Festival. Absolutely fascinating! And I must admit that while I was reading it I got so caught up in it that I actually wondered if the concert would happen, which is a credit to the phenomenal storytelling skills of Mr. Spitz. I cannot overstate what a fascinating book this was.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sophie Perry

    This was a very informative history on the creation of the Woodstock festival and the many hurdles it had to overcome. Overall it made me appreciate how much of a miracle those three days of peace love and music were. However, if you are looking for a platform that encapsulates the feeling and the music of Woodstock, you might be better off watching the documentary.

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