The Road to Woodstock, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


On the afternoon of August 15, 1969, Richie Havens took the stage at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, welcoming a crowd of several hundred thousand to the green fields of Max Yasgur's farm.

Havens was the first act - the legendary festival, years in the making, was finally beginning.

Nothing would be the same after. But the story of the legendary festival begins with Michael Lang, a kid out of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, who liked to smoke a joint and listen to jazz and who eventually found his way to Florida, where he opened a head shop and produced his first festival - Miami Pop, featuring Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and others.

In the late '60s, after settling in Woodstock, he began to envision a music and arts festival where folks could come and stay for a few days amid the rural beauty of upstate New York.

The idea crystallized when Lang talked it over with Artie Kornfeld, a songwriter and A and R man, and with two other young men they formed Woodstock Ventures. They booked talent, from Janis Joplin and the Who to the virtually unknown Santana and Crosby, Stills and Nash; won over agents and promoters; brought in the Hog Farm commune to set up campgrounds; hired a peacekeeping force; took on fleets of volunteers; appeased the Yippies; and, were run out of one town and found another site weeks before the festival.

On the ground with the talent, the townspeople, and his handpicked crew, Lang had a unique and panoramic perspective of the festival.

Enhanced by interviews with others who were central to the making of the festival, "The Road to Woodstock" tells the story from inspiration to celebration, capturing all the magic, mayhem, and mud in between.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 352 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Rock & Pop music
  • ISBN: 9780061576584



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As the title implies, this book takes us along on Michael Lang's journey leading up to and culminating with the Woodstock festival. I was a teenager in the '70s, and grew up in the shadow of all things Woodstock. As with any major event, rumors and half-truths became legendary. Lang clarifies it all here, and I enjoyed learning how the event really unfolded. Woodstock was not just about the music. It was about freedom of expression, equal rights, and unity. We see all that play out here. I've always believed Woodstock to be one of those pivotal points in history. We can never repeat its magic, but we can reflect back and learn.