By CAROL DeMARE, Staff writer
First published in print: Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Woodstock a cultural phenomenon of the '60s is on the Thursday
calendar at the Court of Appeals. The high court's newest lecture
and last one of the year is "Woodstock: The Music of the First Amendment."
Three speakers will bring the audience back to those incredible three
days on the 600-acre Bethel dairy farm of Max Yasgur in August 1969.
Yasgur's son, Sam Yasgur of Monticello, now the Sullivan County
attorney, played a vital but little-known part in convincing his
father to allow the Woodstock Music & Art Festival to be held on the
Michael Lang, of Woodstock, a concert promoter, producer and artists'
manager, was co-creator of Woodstock and later co-producer of
Woodstock '94 and Woodstock '99.
Phil Gitlen of the Albany firm of Whiteman Osterman & Hanna was a
counsel for Woodstock '94 and Woodstock '99 festivals.
Chief Judge Judith Kaye is looking forward to this lecture. It will
be her last as chief judge she retires at the end of the year and
she "wanted this to be a powerhouse."
Kaye grew up in Monticello and her family knew the Yasgurs. Mimi
Yasgur, the wife of Max, shopped at Kaye's parents' store. Kaye is
thrilled with the speakers who will relive the festival as the 40th
"In retrospect it was a gigantic peaceful festival, a half million
came," Kaye said. It was "an example of freedom of expression."
Gary Spencer, court spokesman, called Woodstock, "one of the major
events of the cultural revolution of the 1960s.
Among the performers were Joan Baez, Blood, Sweat and Tears,
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Country Joe McDonald & The Fish,
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joe Cocker, Arlo Guthrie, Grateful
Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.
Lectures began in 2006 with three, and another three were held last
year. This is the third this year. The idea was "to bring the public
into the courthouse," Kaye said. "This is a public building. We don't
just want lawyers arguing cases here. We want the public to see this
beautiful building and expose them to the work of the court."
Space is limited. To reserve a seat at the Eagle Street building,
call 455-7741. The event is co-sponsored by the Historical Society of
the Courts of the State of New York.