In April 1969: Allan Mann met with Elliiot Tiber who offered a barn for a theater from free if Mann would rent a nearby 6-room Victorian for the summer for $800. Paul Johnson, a friend of Mann, agreed to put the down payment of $200 for the house in exchange for a room there for the summer. [keep in mind, this agreement was made before Wallkill evicted the festival.
From the Woodstock Preservation site: By this time it was April and I was broke and was looking through the Village Voice for a job when I saw Elliot Tiber’s ad for a summer barn theater for free. If I was going to develop a world class theater company on the level of The Open Theater, The Living Theater and The Polish Mime Theater it certainly would be beneficial to get the performers out of the city to a place where we could work intensively together with minimum distractions and form a communal theater company that eventually would be the basis for an entire tribal arts complex. So I called Elliot to make an appointment to go up to White Lake and got my friend Paul Johnson to drive me and Jane up there.
The agreement would result in the Earthlight Theatre Troupe who would be in the right place at the right time when Wallkill evicted Woodstock Ventures and Ventures relocated to Bethel. (see Apr 1)
My Woodstock story is a straightforward one. High school friend Tony and I left NJ and got close to the site on Friday night, walked in on Saturday morning, and hitch-hiked back to the car on Sunday afternoon.
I had borrowed my girlfriend’s father’s 35mm camera and his binoculars. I bought one roll of Kodachrome slide film and loaded it into the camera.
As Tony and I walked toward Bethel and the site on Saturday morning I took a few pictures. On Saturday I took several more. Once during the night I took a picture. I finished the roll on Sunday before we left. A few times I experimented and put the binoculars up to the camera’s lens and improvised a telephoto lens.
Tony and I hardly moved the time we were there. We staked out our 8-foot square and only left a few times in an unsuccessful search for food and to use the porta-johns.
Here are those pictures. Click on the picture to “open” it up and see a larger size.
Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
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Muruga jamming on his invention, the Nada drum at Sage St. Studio (2015)
Father Steve Muruga Booker was the drummer who backed Tim Hardin at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, but at that time he was simply Steve Booker. He was about to leave the Paul Winter Consort which had also included Woodstock band mates Ralph Towner and Richard Bock.In any case, the way Steve relates his Woodstock connection, (from a Detroit Metro Times piece). "One day while in New York City, I went to see Jim and Jean. They were going to a jam at the Café au Go Go on Bleecker Street in the Village, which was the happening hippie place at that time. ...Tim Hardin was also [there]. ...I approached him... while walking down Bleecker Street. He said if I’m ever in need of a gig to call him, and he gave me his Woodstock home phone number.Booker showed up a week later with friend Richard Bock. Hardin offered them both a spot in his then-organizing band. They agreed and Hardin left them to practice without him for two days. Luckily, the group was used to improvisation and did well until Hardin returned.Unfortunately, Hardin's performance, despite the stellar back up band, was not one to remember. Being intimate on a drizzly evening in front of 400,000 people was not what a Hardin performance was made for.
Father Steve Muruga Booker
For Booker, for then Steve Booker, the event was literally life-changing. He met Swami Satchidananda whose spirituality immediately impressed Booker. Booker studied with the Swami for several years and it was Satchidananda who gave the name "Muruga" to Booker.Booker continued to be a musician and eventually was ordained an Orthodox priest. Today he operates his own chapel, St. Gregory Palamas, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His spirituality led him to invent the nada drum, a variation on the talking drum.
The list of people Booker has played with is a who's who of musicians. A very partial list includes: Peter Babriel, George Clinton, Merle Sanders, Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, John Lee Hooker, Al Kooper, Ted Nugent, and Dave Brubeck. (a more complete list) Booker's own words best sum up his life now: You could say that the spirit of Woodstock continues for many of us through the spirit and heart that’s still in the music we love to play.
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