Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Born January 1, 1942

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman
August 15, 2013. Joel Rosenman at the Richie Havens Memorial Service held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Each of the four young men, with or without unlimited capital, who formed Woodstock Ventures to create the most famous music festival of all time contributed to its muddy success.

John Roberts is mainly associated with the financial backing with his family’s fortune from the Block Drug Co.

Artie Kornfeld‘s Capitol Records background helped organize the lineup.

Michael Lang’s brought a vision and insistence that the show must go on.

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Joel Rosenman

So, what about Joel. He was Roberts’s best friend.

Rosenman grew up on Long Island, NY and attended Princeton University, where as a freshman in 1959 co-founded the Footnotes a cappella group. I guess the Footnotes never went doo wop as the members of rival Ivy League’s Columbia University’s Kingsmen had when they became Sha Na Na. Imagine!

He graduated Princeton in 1963 and finished Yale Law in 1966  Shortly after that, Joel befriended John while on a golf course.

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Media Sound

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

They got into the recording business via Media Sound, a studio located in a former Baptist church built in 1920.  Located at at 311 West 57th St. in Manhattan,  Harry Hirsch (who’d began his career in 1942 as a 13-year-old drummer in The Catskills) founded Media Sound with assistance from Bob Walters, (during World War II a member of the U.S. Army Air Force band stationed in London when Glenn Miller led it), and the financial/business backing from Roseman and Roberts,

Providence NYC

Media Sound opened in June 1969. It is now the location of Metronome Hospitality Group’s Providence NYC, a venue for  private parties and corporate functions.

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Another Recording Studio

Woodstock Music and Art Fair did not start out as such. It sprang from Lang and Kornfeld’s idea of  establishing a recording studio in Woodstock, NY, the rural upstate area where many  young musicians lived and visited mainly because one Bob Dylan had found its relative isolation a comfortable place to raise his young family and write music with his Band friends.

Albert Grossman had already initiated plans for his nearby Bearsville Studio, so why Lang and Kornfeld thought it would be feasible to open second studio competing with Dylan’s own manager who was also the manager of several other name musicians such as The Band, Janis Joplin, Gordon Lightfoot, and Peter, Paul, and Mary, is an unsolved mystery.

In any case, Lang and Kornfeld pitched the idea of a studio which led to the idea of a party to raise funds for the studio which led to the idea of a festival to raise even more money.  The irony of their vision is not lost on anyone.

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Another Festival

Rock music festivals were not new by 1969. The June 10 – 11, 1967 Fantasy Fair Festival (in Mount Tamalpais State Park, CA) is typically credited as the first though the Monterey Pop Festival a week later (and about 125 miles north) is far better known.

1968 had more rock festivals and by the end of 1969 had dozens.

So, what could attract big rock and folk names to a DIY and isolated location? Money.

According to Rosenman in a Giving to Princeton article,   “None of the four of us had ever produced anything bigger than a birthday party. Inconveniently, the managers and the agents for the bands knew we were novices. They refused to commit their bands to an event that might never take place. We solved that problem by throwing money at it; we paid the bands twice as much as their going rate.”

And in a 2009 NPR interview, he explained how they never expected the half-million to show up.  “Our first go-round we hoped to get about 25,000 people. That was in say, March of 1969. By mid-April, we realized we might attract 35 to 50,000. By say early June, we were looking at 75,000. By late July, we thought, improbably enough, that we’re going to have 100,000. And by the day before the concert, we had everybody in America.”

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Money Money Money

Even when the festival finally got going, finances continued to be both the key to its success and the thorn in its side.

Again from the Princeton article: The Who and the Grateful Dead had decided at the last minute that they would no longer accept Woodstock’s checks. They wanted cash or they weren’t going to play. Rosenman…had to scramble. He woke up his banker with a phone call and sent a helicopter to the man’s backyard, flying the pajamas-clad financier over the traffic jams and to the bank office a few miles away. Now, as the clock ticked, Rosenman revved his motorcycle and followed the music.

The closer he got, the more congested the route became. But once he reached the periphery of the vast field that had been transformed into a cultural epicenter of peace and music, he couldn’t help but pause to appreciate the beauty and the gravity of the moment.

Janis Joplin was singing ‘Piece of My Heart,’ and she was brilliantly lit up by the spotlight,” Rosenman said. “And in my backpack, I was carrying the cashier’s checks that would keep the crowd from becoming very unhappy. Threading my way through the audience was difficult, but it was also exhilarating. I felt, briefly, like a hero.”

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

No Walk in the Garden

From the beginning, the event’s logistics had presented constant hoops to jump through, the biggest, perhaps, having been the Wallkill eviction forcing the festival, only three weeks before the festival. to seek another site, which of course turned into Max Yasgur‘s hay field in Bethel.

Because Woodstock Ventures had to build the venue from scratch in a location where nothing was–there was barely electricity–everything seemed a nightmare.

Joel regarding power [from the above NPR interview]:

We were sprouting walkie talkies from every ear at that point and dealing with a dozen problems every minute or two. And on top of it all the phone rang, the chief electrician was calling from backstage. I asked him what the problem was, he sounded pretty shaky actually at the time, even for a man who was going through what he was going through.

He said, with the rain and all of those hundreds of thousands of feet scuffling over the performance area, the main feeder cable supplying electricity to the stage – the musicians, the amplifiers, whatever has been – unearthed. And with additional abrasion from these sneakers and whatever, sandals, it may wear away the insulation on these cables. I’m worried with all those wet bodies packed together that we may have something approximating a – and he paused for a moment and I couldn’t believe that he was searching for the words that he came up with. But he came up with mass electrocution.

And I thought to myself this is the incredible, this can’t be happening. He said, what do you want me to do, should I shut down the power to the stage? Now we had had a philosophy there at headquarters that one of the reasons that this festival was proceeding so well in spite of the adversities that everybody there was facing, the weather, the tremendous crowds, the strain on all facilities, was that the music was so mesmerizing. It was wonderful talent, brilliant artists performing – the kids were just in love with it.

The thought of shutting the power down in the darkness, in the rain storm struck me as an invitation to chaos. Nevertheless, the thought of a mass execution posed additional moral problems. At that point, I remember breaking a two-year moratorium on smoking. I think I lit up three or four Camels at once and stuck them in my mouth and tried to think this one through. Finally, the electrician helped me out. He said, look I think there’s a chance that in the next 20 minutes I can work a shunt from the power source to the stage that bypasses those main feeder cables. And maybe that will solve the whole problem.

I said, give it a try, and hung up. And for the next 20 minutes, John and I sat there looking at each other. I guess we were waiting like in the movies for the lights to dim a little bit, the way they do when they throw the switch in the electric chair chamber. And I think it probably took a hundred years for those 20 minutes to pass. The phone rang and it was the chief electrician again. He said, I did it, I did it, everything is fine.

There were very few moments when I could just sit back and enjoy…. John and I were just nose to the grindstone, on the phones at all times, tackling problems that were coming in at a rate that was faster than we could solve them.”

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Financial Disaster

Though a viable entity today, the SS Woodstock Ventures had sunk to its smokestacks by Monday 18 August 1969. It would be a decade before its books saw black.

Roseman continues to be a manager.

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Young Men

In 1999, Rosenman and Roberts published Young Men With Unlimited Capital, which described their preparation for the festival, their shock and confusion when Woodstock turned out to be bigger than planned, and their months of legal hassling after the concert.

Woodstock Ventures Joel Rosenman

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Winter 2021 COVID 19

20 Million

January 1, 2021: NPR reported that the United States had recorded its 20 millionth confirmed coronavirus case since the beginning of the pandemic.

That figure was according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University, which reported 20,037,736 cases and 346,687 deaths in the U.S. at the time of publication on Friday, January 1. Over 83 million coronavirus cases had been confirmed worldwide.

The U.S. had reached 10 million cases on November 9. In less than two months, the country had doubled its total number of infections.

The nation accounts for nearly a quarter of all infections in the world and a fifth of all deaths.

1,834,663 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 1, 2021: 84,362,526 cases; 1,834,663 deaths worldwide

356,445 COVID Deaths USA

January 1, 2021: 20,617,346 cases; 356,445 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

COVID numbers accurate

January 3: US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said he had “no reason to doubt” the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 death toll, contradicting President Donald Trump’s claim that the agency has “exaggerated” its numbers.

“From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers,” Adams told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” when asked about Trump’s claim.

“And I think people need to be very aware that it’s not just about the deaths, as we talked about earlier,” he added. “It’s about the hospitalizations, the capacity. These cases are having an impact in an array of ways and people need to understand there’s a finish line in sight, but we’ve got to keep running toward it.”

Earlier in the day, Trump had claimed on Twitter [account now terminated] that the number of cases and deaths of the “China Virus is far exaggerated” because of the CDC’s “ridiculous method of determination” compared to other countries, which “report, purposely, very inaccurately and low.” [CNN article]
Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,860,354 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 4, 2021: 86,095,659 cases; 1,860,354 deaths worldwide

362,123 COVID Deaths USA

January 4, 2021: 21,353,051 cases; 362,123 deaths in the United States,

Slow Rollout

January 5: inoculation efforts in many countries rolled out slower than promised, even as the count of new infections soared and record numbers flood hospitals, placing a double burden on health care providers who had also been tasked with leading the vaccination push.

And a more contagious variant spreading widely in England and detected in dozens of other countries threatened to give the virus an even greater advantage. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

On  January 7, 2021, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the United States’ top infectious disease specialist, said in a radio interview,We believe things will get worse as we get into January.”

On January 8, 2021, the United States broke its single-day record for new coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day with more than 300,000 cases.

It was the first time the country had crossed the 300,000-case mark, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations were also at a near-record high — 131,889, according to the Covid Tracking Project — and officials across the nation reported more than 3,890 new deaths the same day, the third-highest daily tally of the pandemic. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,921,119 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 8, 2021: 89,343,185 cases; 1,921,119 deaths worldwide

362,123 COVID Deaths USA

January 8, 2021: 22,461,696 cases; 378,204 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

January 12, 2021: 4,218 deaths were reported across the United States, according to a New York Times database, a number once unimaginable.

The death count, which set another daily record, represented at least 1,597 more people than those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The U.S. death toll, already the world’s highest by a wide margin, was at that point about 20,000 shy of 400,000 — only a month after the country crossed the 300,000 threshold, a figure greater than the number of Americans who died fighting in World War II.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

1,968,914 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 12, 2021: 91,995,859 cases; 1,968,914 deaths worldwide

389,621 COVID Deaths USA

January 12, 2021: 23,369,732 cases; 389,621 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Biden President

January 20, 2012: President Biden signed an executive order appointing Jeffrey D. Zients as the official Covid-19 response coordinator who will report to the president, in an effort to “aggressively” gear up the nation’s response to the pandemic.

The order also restored the directorate for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council, a group President Trump had disbanded.

Though it is not a national mask mandate, which would most likely fall to a legal challenge, Biden required social distancing and the wearing of masks on all federal property and by all federal employees.

He also started a 100 days masking challenge urging all Americans to wear masks and state and local officials to implement public measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Biden also reinstated ties with the World Health Organization after the Trump administration had chosen to withdraw the nation’s membership and funding last year. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci would head the U.S. delegation to the organization’s executive board and jumped into the role with a meeting this week. [NYT article}

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,081,857 COVID Deaths Worldwide

January 20, 2021: 97,287,117 cases; 2,081,857 deaths worldwide

415,905 COVID Deaths USA

January 20, 2021: 24,999,070 cases; 415,905 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19
January 21, Biden’s first full day

President Biden, pledging a “full-scale wartime effort” to combat the coronavirus pandemic, signed a string of executive orders and presidential directives  aimed at combating the worst public health crisis in a century, including new requirements for masks on interstate planes, trains and buses and for international travelers to quarantine after arriving in the United States.

“History is going to measure whether we are up to the task,” Mr. Biden declared in an appearance in the State Dining Room of the White House, with Vice President Kamala Harris and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, his chief Covid-19 medical adviser, by his side.

In a 200-page document called “National Strategy for the Covid-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness,” the new administration outlines the kind of centralized federal response that Democrats have long demanded and President Donald J. Trump refused. [NYT article]

January 21: Dr Fauci back

The NY Times reported that: Dr. Fauci, the nation’s foremost infectious disease specialist, was back, this time with no one telling him what to say. And he made no effort to hide how he felt about it.

“The idea that you can get up here and talk about what you know — what the evidence, what the science is — and know that’s it, let the science speak,” Dr. Fauci said, pausing for a second. “It is somewhat of a liberating feeling.”

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,276,841 COVID Deaths Worldwide

February 3, 2021: 104,892,353 cases; 2,276,841 deaths worldwide

415,905 COVID Deaths USA

February 3, 2021: 27,150,530 cases; 461,936 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

US Vaccinations Speed Up

February 4: by this date, more than 27 million Americans had received a first COVID vaccination dose, and more than six million had been fully vaccinated.

The pace had accelerated enough that President Biden, facing criticism that his administration’s goal of giving out 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office was too modest,  raised that goal to 150 million shots.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Steady declines

February 5, 2021

The NY Times reported that the worst of the current wave of coronavirus infections seemed to be behind us, with a seven-day rolling average of new cases trending down in almost every part of the country.

Nationally, that average peaked on January 8 at nearly 260,000 new cases; the figure for February 3, 136,442, amounted to a 47 percent drop from that peak.

Some parts of the country, including the Upper Midwest,  experienced bigger decreases in new cases than others. Four states in the region — Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa — have seen average daily cases fall by 80 percent or more.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,349,437 COVID Deaths Worldwide

February 9, 2021: 107,397,898 cases; 2,349,437 deaths worldwide

479,772 COVID Deaths USA

February 9, 2021: 27,799,946 cases; 479,772 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19
February 10, 2021

The NY Times reported that coronavirus-related deaths, which rose sharply in the United States beginning in November and continued to remain high, appeared to be in a steady decline, following in the tracks of new virus cases and hospitalizations, which began to drop in January.

The country had reported about 2,800 deaths a day recently, an average that excluded one anomalous day last week when Indiana announced a large number of backlogged death reports. That national average remains far above the level of early November, before the country’s recent surge, when roughly 825 deaths were being reported daily. But it is down significantly from the peak just a few weeks ago, when the average was more than 3,300 a day.

Winter 2021 COVID 19


February 10: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new research that found wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask offers more protection against the coronavirus, as does tying knots on the ear loops of surgical masks. Those findings prompted new guidance on how to improve mask fit at a time of concern over fast-spreading variants of the virus.

For optimal protection, the CDC said to make sure the mask fit snugly against the face and to choose a mask with at least two layers. [NPR story]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

February 11: the Biden administration said it had secured 200 million more doses of coronavirus vaccines, enough to inoculate every American adult, but President Biden warned that logistical hurdles would most likely mean that many Americans would still not have been vaccinated by the end of the summer.

The additional doses amounted to a 50 percent increase in vaccine, and would give the administration the number of doses that  Biden said last month he needed to cover 300 million people by the end of the summer. But it will still be difficult to get those shots into people’s arms. Both vaccines were two-dose regimens, spaced three and four weeks apart. Mr. Biden lamented the “gigantic” logistical challenge he faced during an appearance at the National Institutes of Health. He also expressed open frustration with the previous administration.

“It’s one thing to have the vaccine,” Mr. Biden said. “It’s another thing to have vaccinators.” [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

US Approaching 500,000?

February 21, 2021:  Associated Press reportedA year into the pandemic, the running total of lives lost was about 498,000 — roughly the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and just shy of the size of Atlanta. The figure compiled by Johns Hopkins University surpasses the number of people who died in 2019 of chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, Alzheimer’s, flu and pneumonia combined.

“It’s nothing like we have ever been through in the last 102 years, since the 1918 influenza pandemic,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

2,477,878 COVID Deaths Worldwide

February 21: 111,954,170 cases; 2,477,878 deaths worldwide

511,133 COVID Deaths USA

February 21: 28,765,423 cases; 511,133 deaths in the United States,

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Johnson & Johnson

February 24: according to new analyses posted online by the Food and Drug Administration , the one-shot coronavirus vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson provided strong protection against severe disease and death from Covid-19, and might reduce the spread of the virus by vaccinated people,

The vaccine had a 72 percent overall efficacy rate in the United States and 64 percent in South Africa, where a highly contagious variant emerged in the fall and was driving most cases. The efficacy in South Africa was seven percentage points higher than earlier data released by the company.

The vaccine also showed 86 percent efficacy against severe forms of Covid-19 in the United States, and 82 percent against severe disease in South Africa. That meant that a vaccinated person had a far lower risk of being hospitalized or dying from Covid-19. [NYT article]

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Johnson & Johnson

February 27: the Food and Drug Administration authorized Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, beginning the rollout of millions of doses of a third effective vaccine that could reach Americans by early the next week.

The announcement arrived at a critical moment, as the steep decline in coronavirus cases seemed to have plateaued and millions of Americans were on waiting lists for shots.

Johnson & Johnson pledged to provide the United States with 100 million doses by the end of June. When combined with the 600 million doses from the two-shot vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna slated to arrive by the end of July, there would be more than enough shots to cover any American adult who wanted one.

Winter 2021 COVID 19

2,549,958 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 1: 115,002,808 cases; 2,549,958 deaths worldwide

527,226 COVID Deaths USA

March 1: 29,314,254 cases; 527,226 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 1: 15 % at least once; 7.5% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Merck & Co/ Johnson & Johnson

March 2: in a highly unusual deal, brokered by the White House, Merck & Co would help manufacture the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine. The move would substantially increase the supply of the new vaccine and ramp up the pace of vaccination just as new variants of the virus were taking hold in the United States. [NYT article]

President Biden predicted that given the increased production capability, all adults would be able to get their vaccination(s) by the end of May, two month sooner than previously hoped.  [NYT article]

Restrictions lifted

March 8: Republican Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas would lift its mask rule, joining a rapidly growing movement by governors and other leaders across the U.S. to loosen COVID-19 restrictions despite pleas from health officials not to let their guard down yet.

Texas also did away with limits on the number of diners who can be served indoors.

The governors of Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana likewise eased up on bars, restaurants and other businesses, as did the mayor of San Francisco.

Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” said Abbott, speaking from a crowded dining room where many of those surrounding him were not wearing masks. “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.” [AP article]

2,611,883 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 8: 117,744,416 cases; 2,611,883 deaths worldwide

538,628 COVID Deaths USA

March 8: 29,744,652 cases; 538,628 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 8: 17.7 % at least once; 9.2% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

March 10: President Biden announced that he intended to secure an additional 100 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 single-shot vaccine by the end of this year, with the goal of having enough on hand to vaccinate children and, if necessary, administer booster doses or reformulate the vaccine to combat emerging variants of the virus. [NYT article]

American Rescue Plan

March 11: President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law, saying that an “overwhelming percentage” of the American people supported the legislation and called it an effort focused on “rebuilding the backbone of this country.”

That evening, using his first prime-time, nationwide television address to mark the end of a year that plunged the nation into health and economic crises, Bide urged people to have hope as the United States began slowly emerging from a pandemic that had killed more than 529,000 Americans, .

Speaking from the East Room of the White House a year to the day after his predecessor used an Oval Office address to announce that travel would be shut down from Europe, Biden  acknowledged the devastating impact of a virus that had shuttered restaurants and businesses, emptied sports stadiums, driven patrons from movie theaters and gyms, forced students to learn at home and left tens of millions out of work. [NYT article]

2,640,265 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 11: 119,071,630 cases; 2,640,265 deaths worldwide

543,539 COVID Deaths USA

March 11: 29,918,335 cases; 543,539 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 11: 18.8 % at least once; 9.8% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

March 12: the NY Times reported that the Biden administration, under intense pressure to donate excess coronavirus vaccines to needy nations, moved to address the global shortage in another way: by partnering with Japan, India, and Australia to finance a dramatic expansion of the vaccine manufacturing capacity.

The agreement was announced at the Quad Summit, a virtual meeting between the heads of state of those four countries, which President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended. The goal, senior administration officials said, was to address an acute vaccine shortage in Southeast Asia, which in turn will boost worldwide supply.

CDC Report

March 15: a review of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 guidance found that some of the agency’s guidance during the Trump administration was not grounded in science or free from undue influence, according to a statement from a CDC spokesperson.

The review found that some guidance “used less direct language than available evidence supported,” “needed to be updated to reflect the latest scientific evidence” and “presented the underlying science base for guidance inconsistently,” according to the spokesperson.
Additionally, the review identified three documents that were not primarily authored by the CDC and yet were presented as CDC documents, according to the spokesperson. The agency removed two of the documents from its website, and updated and replaced the third.
President Joe Biden’s CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky ordered the review in response to concerns about some of the agency’s guidance during the first year of the pandemic under the Trump administration.  [CNN report]

2,674,363 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 15: 120,865,083 cases; 2,674,363 deaths worldwide

548,013 COVID Deaths USA

March 15: 30,138,586 cases; 548,013 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 15: 21 % at least once; 11.3% both

Winter 2021 COVID 19

Previous and subsequent COVID-19 posts: