Bursting at the seams with 350 never-before-seen photos — in color and black and white — and intimate memories from those who attended what Time magazine called “the greatest peaceful event in history,” this new Woodstock book doesn’t just celebrate the 1969 festival.
Rather it sends you spinning back in time to experience Woodstock almost as fully as if you were actually there. Plus, a special section on Woodstock memorabilia contains up-to-date pricing on collectors’ items the event spawned.
Instead of focusing on the performers and their recollections, authors Brad Littleproud and Joanne Hague chose to tell the story of Woodstock as told by the people who were in the crowd or stuck on the road going to Woodstock — though commentary from acts like Ten Years After, Richie Havens, Santana and others is offered, as well. And that’s what sets its apart from the rest.
Littleproud and Hague, both members of the Woodstock Preservation Alliance and actively involved in the historic preservation of the Woodstock festival site, were interviewed by Goldmine about their book.
Here’s what they had to say:
I think what you really get from this book is a feeling of being there, not just from the artists, but from the rank-and-file people as well.
Brad Littleproud: And that’s what it was ... of course, I’m biased, but I think this one really actually gets to take a person there even in a way the documentary doesn’t. [With] the documentary really, the highlight is, I think, the stage performers, and you’ll see even in this book, we don’t really highlight the performers themselves as much as we do the crowd. And that’s what this was about. This was really a book for the crowd or anybody who wishes they had been there, and to try to paint as vivid a picture of what it was really like.
Do you have a favorite story from someone who contributed to the book?
Joanne Hague: Babette Brackett, she went with her family. Her and her husband were both in college at the time, I believe ... And they had three children. The youngest was I believe 10 months. And they all packed up their bags and came to Woodstock. What fascinates me so is that they came so totally prepared. They were helping everybody else out.
Not only did they come with slim-and-cools and all these toys and all for their own children, they really had an insight that there were going to be a lot more kids there. And I just think that I have kids, and I don’t know if it would have been that easy. But she tells a fascinating story about cooking blueberry pancakes on her fire. So her story to me was really fascinating ... really with Babette, I just commend her for how prepared she was, the insight that she had and the people that she helped with just her campfire.
What do you hope people will get from the book?
BL: You know what? I really hope that they get a really good sense of what it was like to have been there whether it was for one day or whether you arrived a week earlier ... I really hope they get a really good sense of something that they don’t get from other types of media on the event.
We’re talking about kids who are now getting to be senior members of society ... you know, folks who are in their late 50s, all the way up. And I think it even says in the book we’re kind of hoping to set the record straight, that we are not the kind to whitewash the realities, that there were some darker elements of the ’60s that were present. You know, because I’ve sort of been involved in the legacy, the preservation of the historic elements of it.
We’ve always kind of felt that it has really gotten pushed to the