Gerardo Jerry Velez

Gerardo Jerry Velez

born August 15, 1947

Gerardo Jerry Velez

Gerardo "Jerry" Velez was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in the Bronx, and played with Jimi Hendrix's Gypsy Sun and Rainbows at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair three days after he turned twenty-two.

Not bad.

Post Woodstock

From his site: "...Velez went on to perform with such luminaries as David Bowie, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Destiny’s Child, Stevie Nicks, Chaka Khan, Marc Anthony and countless others. Then he was poised for greatness as an original member of the Best Selling Contemporary Jazz Groups of all time Spyro Gyra, garnering multiple Gold and Platinum recording awards, also best new group of 1978, several number one hit songs, Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Band of the 80’s….and 14 Grammy Nominations."

Outside playing

Also from his site: "...Velez’s event company Gerardo Velez Productions (GVP) has been producing hundreds of shows and events since 1981. Nationally and internationally creating events, gala’s, concerts, festivals for such clients as New York Stock Exchange, The Security Traders Association of New York, Bank of America, H.B.O., Comedy Central, and SAP Software. Time Warner, Donna Karan, Chopard Jewelry, Mirimax Films, and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino just to mention a few.

"His range in Music continues as a musical supervisor and director for Conde Nast Travelers Awards, United Way’s 25th. Anniversary , National Football League Properties working with Rap, Rand B, and country superstars…Buster Rhymes , Destiny’s Child, Terry Bradshaw, Tim McGraw , Jerry Rice, 98 Degrees, Isaac Hayes, each song coupled an athlete with a musician."

Many happy returns…

Gerardo Jerry Velez

Here's a great and thorough montage of Velez from YouTube...

Many happy returns, Jerry. Thanks you for all your music, especially that damp Bethel Monday morning a few days after that 22nd birthday.

Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez, Gerardo Jerry Velez,

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Day 1 Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Day 1 Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Friday 15 August 1969
A little more time would have been nice
Whether Woodstock Ventures was ready or not, the first day arrived. As I've indicated, there were thousands of people already on the field by Wednesday and the organizers realized that without booths that selling or collecting tickets was unlikely. 

They would dance with who brung them.

The following is a listing of who played that first day, what they played, and how long they played. Keep in mind that while the organizers were well-organized (despite the myths), keeping track of times and players was not high on anyone's list (insert joke here). The following seems to be accurate, but not definitive.

Day 1 Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Richie Havens 

Richie Havens started at 5:15 pm; played for 45 minutes
  • Richie Havens: guitar, vocals
  • Paul “Deano” Williams: guitar, vocals
  • Danielle Ben Zebulon: percussion, conga drum, vocals
Set list
  • The Minstrel from Gault
  • From the Prison > Get Together > From the Prison
  • I’m a Stranger Here
  • High Flyin’ Bird
  • I Can’t Make It Anymore
  • With A Little Help from my Friends
  • Handsome Johnny
  • Strawberry Fields For Ever
  • Motherless Child/Freedom

Swami Satchidananda

Swami Satchidananda addressed the audience and spoke about peace (6 PM).


Sweetwater started at 6.30 pm; played for 45 minutes.
Nancy Nevins: guitar, vocals
Albert Moore: flute, vocals
August Burns: cello
Alex Del Zoppo: keyboards
Harvey Gerst: guitar
Fred Herrera: bass
Elpidio Cobain: conga drums
Alan Malarowitz: drums
Set list:
  • Motherless Child
  • Look Out
  • For Pete’s Sake
  • What’s Wrong
  • Crystal Spider
  • Two Worlds
  • Why Oh Why
  • Let the Sunshine In
  • Oh Happy Day
  • Day Song

Bert Sommer

Bert Sommer started at 7:30 pm; played for approx 40 minutes.
  • Bert Sommer: guitar, vocal
  • Ira Stone: electric guitar, Hammond organ, harmonica
  • Charlie Bilello: bass
Set list:
  • Jennifer
  • The Road To Travel
  • I Wondered Where You Be
  • She’s Gone
  • Things Are Going My Way
  • And When It’s Over
  • Jeanette
  • America (Paul Simon)
  • A Note That Read
  • Smile

Tim Hardin

     Tim Hardin started at 9 pm; played for 30 minutes.
Tim Hardin: vocals, guitar
Richard Bock: cello
Ralph Towner: guitar, piano
Giles Malkine: guitar
Glen Moore: bass
Steve “Muruga” Booker: drums
Set list:
  • (How Can We) Hang on to a Dream
  • Susan
  • If I Were a Carpenter
  • Reason to Believe
  • You Upset the Grace of Living When You Lie
  • Speak Like a Child
  • Snow White Lady
  • Blue on My Ceiling
  • Simple Song of Freedom
  • Misty Roses

 Ravi Shankar

     Ravi Shankar started at 10 pm; played for 40 minutes.
Ravi Shankar: sitar Maya Kulkarni: tamboura
Ustad Alla Rakha: tabla
Set list:
  • Raga Puriya-Dhanashri/Gat in Sawarital
  • Tabla Solo In Jhaptal
  • Raga Manj Kmahaj


     Melanie played instead of Incredible String Band. She started at 11 pm; played for approx 20 minutes.
Melanie Safka: vocals, guitar
Set list:
  • Close to It All
  • Momma Momma
  • Beautiful People
  • Animal Crackers
  • Mr. Tambourine Man
  • Tuning My Guitar
  • Birthday of the Sun

Arlo Guthrie

Arlo Guthrie started at 12 midnight; played for approx 40 minutes.
  • Arlo Guthrie: vocal, guitar
  • John Pilla: guitar
  • Bob Arkin: bass
  • Paul Motian: drums
Set list:
  • Coming into Los Angeles
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Walking Down the Line
  • Arlo Speech: Exodus
  • Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep
  • Every Hand in the Land
  • Amazing Grace

Joan Baez

Joan Baez started at 1 am; played for approx 60 minutes
Joan Baez: vocals, guitar Richard Festinger: guitar
Jeffrey Shurtleff: vocals, guitar
Set list:
  • Oh Happy Day
  • The Last Thing On My Mind
  • I Shall Be Released
  • Story about how the Federal Marshalls came to take David Harris into custody  
  • No Expectations
  • Joe Hill
  • Sweet Sir Galahad
  • Hickory Wind
  • Drug Store Truck Driving Man
  • I Live One Day at a Time
  • Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South
  • Let Me Wrap You in My Warm and Tender Love
  • Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  • We Shall Overcome

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