NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK (July 30, 2019) – Next month marks the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock, originally billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” which was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm near White Lake in Bethel, New York. Steve Gold, co-founder of Peace of Stage, LLC, was at the 1969 festival, and years later obtained the original wooden stage from the event. The company is now celebrating the legacy of the festival by creating collectible artifacts from that very stage.
“We decided to create various items of that legendary festival by offering small pieces of (literally) the centerpiece of the event, the Woodstock stage – the same floorboards on which Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and other rock greats made magic – as collectibles they can treasure,” says Gold. “People have an intense emotional attachment to the festival, whether they were there or not. With the Woodstock 50th concert still up in the air, the original stage is the only artifact that exists for people to touch and reflect upon. Its importance is beyond measure – it’s like the Holy Grail of rock music. To be able to give them a chance to own sections of the original stage is something I had to see through.”
Gold, who grew up near the concert site in Bethel, NY (and who attended all three days of Woodstock when he was just 15 years old), recalls how the stage was the focal point for the nearly half million people in attendance. “I had a friend whose father worked electricity for the festival, so I had unrestricted access to what we might call the backstage area,” he says. “I’ll never forget all of those people looking at the stage, half a million people directing their energy to one place. There were no cell phones; nobody was taking pictures to post on Instagram. You had a million eyeballs witnessing the greatest music that was ever played in real time. And it was all happening on these pieces of plywood.”
Weeks after the concert, Gold helped his girlfriend’s father unload pieces of plywood from a truck that were to be used to build a paddleboard court. “I was told it was the wood from the original Woodstock stage, and I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “I was literally holding sections of where Jimi Hendrix stood.”
Forty-eight years after Woodstock, Gold couldn’t shake the memory, and he traveled back to the Robi Lane bungalow colony in upstate New York (about 15 miles from the original concert site at Yasgur’s Farm), where that same paddleboard court still existed. Much of the wood from the Woodstock stage also remained, and Gold, realizing its significance, persuaded the owners of the bungalow colony to let him take possession of it. “I got 3,000 square feet,” he says. “There was still painting on the wood in certain places, and I knew they were markings. I looked at concert pictures and said, ‘That’s where Richie Havens was playing.’”
To honor the Golden Anniversary of Woodstock, Gold, along with Randy Garcia and David Marks, founded Peace of Stage to offer music fans the opportunity to purchase pieces of the genuine authenticated flooring in various collectibles, such as Peace Pendants, Stage Frames (with a four-square-inch piece of the stage) and Stage Cubes (which feature nine-square-inch pieces of the stage).
As Matt Marks, the Director of Digital Marketing for Peace of Stage, explains, the minute people open these collectibles the effect is profound: “Something they’ve only seen in pictures is suddenly right in their hands. It’s something they can hold and touch. The connection is immediate. We’ve even heard from people who say they’ve put their ear to the pieces of wood, and they can feel the vibrations of the music.”
Adds Gold, “We get emails from people who have bought these pieces as remembrances of loved ones. The stories we hear are so touching and gratifying.”
Peace of Stage has also loaned six full panels of the Woodstock stage to the Bethel Woods Museum for their 50th Anniversary exhibit called We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future. In addition, the company has launched the Stardust for Peace campaign and is selling small collectible glass bottles of sawdust (aka “stardust”) created from the stage flooring to benefit five different charities: Orange Ribbons for Jaime, Feed the Children, WhyHunger, the Jed Foundation (JED) and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
“We felt that each of these charities reflects the spirit of Woodstock, and it was important to bridge the generations through these contributions” says Gold. “Orange Ribbons for Jaime is named after Jaime Guttenberg, one of the victims of the Parkland High School mass shooting, and it promotes common sense gun reforms. Feed the Children is exactly what it says it is, and it’s as vital now as it ever was. WhyHunger feeds people, too, but it also supplies housing for veterans. The Jed Foundation is dedicated to anti-bullying and educates kids about suicide prevention, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund honors our troops who sacrificed their lives at that time. As you recall, Woodstock was very much rooted in the anti-war protest movement.”
Gold also says that Peace of Stage is planning to participate in the Yasgur Road Reunion event that will take place August 15-18 at the original Yasgur homestead and calving barn in Bethel, NY to commemorate Woodstock’s 50th anniversary. “We’re going to have a vendor booth, and we’ll be hosting it on social media,” he says. “People can have their pictures taken next to the actual Woodstock stage, and they can hashtag it to #woodstockstage to show that they were there.”
For more information, please visit: https://www.peaceofstage.com/