Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

December 15, 1919 – February 9, 1973

Born in Brooklyn, Max Yasgur eventually found his way to Sullivan County, NY where he became the most successful dairy farmer in that county.

 1969 was another turbulent year of that turbulent decade and Woodstock Ventures hoped that their festival would provide a place in the country where young people could peacefully enjoy their music and sleep under the stars.

Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur
Happy Birthday Max Yasgur

We know the story. After the town of Wallkill realized what Woodstock Ventures was doing and “who” was going to attend, it put one legal roadblock after another in the concert’s way. Wallkill finally succeeded and Max was the man who came to the rescue.

Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur
Woodstock Ventures announces that they will have the Festival in White Lake. Advert was done by Arnold Skolnick, the artist who did the famous poster.

He showed Michael Lang a big grassy bowl at the intersection of Hurd and West Shore Roads.


Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

Bethel hurdles

Like Wallkill, many Bethel locals were against the idea and threatened Yasgur telling others to boycott his milk. Max Yasgur stood his ground and basically told locals where they could put their protest.

At a Bethel Town Board meeting before the festival he reportedly said: “I hear you are considering changing the zoning law to prevent the festival. I hear you don’t like the look of the kids who are working at the site. I hear you don’t like their lifestyle. I hear you don’t like they are against the war and that they say so very loudly. . . I don’t particularly like the looks of some of those kids either. I don’t particularly like their lifestyle, especially the drugs and free love. And I don’t like what some of them are saying about our government. However, if I know my American history, tens of thousands of Americans in uniform gave their lives in war after war just so those kids would have the freedom to do exactly what they are doing. That’s what this country is all about and I am not going to let you throw them out of our town just because you don’t like their dress or their hair or the way they live or what they believe. This is America and they are going to have their festival.”

Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur
local paper article
Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

On the last day of the concert, the New York Times published an article about Max: Until a few days ago Max Yasgur was just another dairy farmer in Sullivan County. Now he gets phone calls threatening to burn him out. And even more calls praising him and asking how the callers can help.

On the same day, he spoke to those young people whom he had defended:

Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

Max Yasgur

He died less than three years later on February 9, 1973. (NYT article)Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur

13 thoughts on “Woodstock Hero Max Yasgur”

  1. Thanks to you Max, and Michael of course, we discovered that we can live in peace and harmony. We learned that the world can be a better place than Vietnam and Nixon. We can have love for one another.
    I carry that feeling with me everywhere and when confronted with tragedies and hate like Aleppo and Trump and Putin, all I do is close my eyes and relive your wonderful speech on the great stage of Woodstock music and arts festival.

  2. Lord bless Max. I almost made Woodstock, but thanks to early orders to report for duty in Vietnam

  3. Just watched the PBS documentary about Woodstock. I was deeply moved by the message Max gave to the crowd at the festival. Sometimes we become part of something much bigger than we intended. Max understood the importance of the present moment and demonstrated what it meant to be a human in the best possible terms. If only the rest of us could learn from him.

  4. I got directed here from a friends face book post and just seeing the pictures and hearing Max’s talk to all that joined in for those 3 days of Peace Love & Happiness really touched deep into my heart. Tho I was only 15 at the time and still living at home with my parents in California I had a flashback of how I begged my dad to let me go. He threatened to put me in juvenile hall if I dared hitch hiked out there. Soooo sadly I missed it. But a year later I was now completely on my own and have been ever since and loved and enjoyed so many concerts in San Francisco and got to go to The Altamont Concert and have loved every single peace love and music festival I could attend. Thanks for this awesome page you have, brings back soooo many fun, fabulous, crazy, insane, over the top wild and without a doubt good times in my life. You Rock!!
    Peace L❤️VE Happiness Always
    Midniteink 😘

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