News from the Square

IBPA logo  APSS logo
Late TAKING WOODSTOCK author Elliot Tiber helped make the scene!

Late TAKING WOODSTOCK author Elliot Tiber helped make the scene!

Posted: 2017/07/04   Source: The Times Herald-Record

Garden City Park, New York: On July 1, one day after June's Gay Pride Month and only a few days before our country's July 4th Declaration of Indepedence celebration, something wonderful happened northward in the upstate New York town of Bethel—or happened again.

As reported recently in USA Today and more regionally in The Times Herald-Record, the iconic stretch of land known to Woodstock lore as "Yasgur's Farm" (now called the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts) was officially bequeathed a special National Register of Historic Places plaque in recognition of its cultural relevance as the site for the legendary Woodstock Music & Arts Festival that took place from August 15 to 18 in 1969 (almost 48 years ago).

In addition to Santana percussionist Michael Carabello and original Woodstock Ventures member Joel Rosenman, who were in attendance at Bethel Woods on July 1, the event was attended by the great original Woodstock festival organizer Michael Lang. As the article and all of Woodstock history now states, it was a single phone call to Lang from struggling artist and closeted motel manager Elliot Tiber that helped relocate a soon-to-be-cancelled concert festival from the town of Wallkill over to Tiber's own little corner of the world called White Lake. The wonderful story of how Lang and the rest of the Woodstock Ventures scene were able to keep their dream afloat is told by Tiber (who passed away last year on August 3 at age 81) in his first of three acclaimed memoirs, Taking Woodstock (co-written with Tom Monte). After his first memoir was made into the 2009 feature film from two-time Oscar winning director Ang Lee, Tiber went on to write first a "prequel" memoir (Palm Trees on the Hudson) and a "sequel" memoir that serves as his swan song, After Woodstock.

As a proudly gay man from the Summer of '69 on, Tiber was at least able to savor the sweetness of having seen the Stonewall Inn (where he and various of his fellow LGBTQ brothers and sisters finally fought back against years of systemic abuse and police persecution) be declared a National Monument by President Obama on June 24, 2016. Though he is sadly not with us here in this world to celebrate in this national recognition of the Woodstock Miracle, there's comfort in knowing that he is most likely out there in the cosmic somewhere smiling and grooving along with Hendrix and Joplin and Havens and Cocker and all those other beautiful people who were there and who now remain an everlasting piece of this life-loving mosaic that is and always will be . . . Woodstock.