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

Barefoot in Babylon The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival are Book First published in this fascinating book has been reissued on the th anniversary of Woodstock It was a

Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969 are Book 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.. The story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival was 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.. Popular Book Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969 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.

About Author

  1. Bob Spitz is the award winning author of The Beatles, a New York Times best seller, as well as seven other nonfiction books and a screenplay He has represented Bruce Springsteen and Elton John in several capacities His articles appear regularly in magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times Magazine The Washington Post Rolling Stone and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.

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

  1. 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 fest [...]


  2. 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 dateevery 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.


  3. 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.


  4. 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 fes [...]


  5. 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 b [...]


  6. See this review on 1776books1776books 2014 09Incredibly 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, [...]


  7. What a disappointmentI 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 Wallk [...]


  8. 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 p [...]


  9. 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 After having read the book I am somewhat surprised there were not 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 Wo [...]


  10. Having been of age during this event I thought I knew the workings of it fairly welllots of luck and a kindly farmer, right I couldn t be 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 suspensefu [...]


  11. 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.


  12. 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.


  13. I selected this book because August 2014 will be the 45th anniversary of Woodstock and I wanted to learn 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.


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