Tag Archives: Woodstock Music and Art Fair

Composer Richard Festinger

Composer Richard Festinger

Composer Richard Festinger

Woodstock?

If you look around his web page, you’d never know that Richard Festinger played guitar with Joan Baez at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

You would find out that on April 8, 2017 the Boston Musica Viva performed his A Serenade for Six at 8:00 pm, Edward Pickman Hall, Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA.

Composer Richard Festinger

World-renowned

You would also find that “Richard Festinger’s music has been performed throughout the United States, and in Europe and Asia. His works have been composed for numerous ensembles, including Parnassus, Earplay, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Alexander String Quartet, the City Winds, the Laurel Trio, the Left Coast Ensemble, the Alter Ego Ensemble,…

The list continues on for several more lines.

Composer Richard Festinger

Uptown circles

How does one go from Woodstock to there? Not all historic events are personally historic and perhaps Woodstock wasn’t so much a turning point, as simply a stop along the way.

Restinger was born on March 1, 1948 in Newton, Massachusetts. Josh Levin in a 2010 article in Journal of he Society for American Music wrote that Restinger “has been a well-respected figure on the American contemporary music scene for three decades, especially in the ‘uptown’ circles of New York City and in his native San Francisco Bay area.”

Composer Richard Festinger

Post Woodstock

After Woodstock, according to Wikipedia, “intent on pursuing a performing career in jazz, he attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he studied composition with Herb Pomeroy and improvisation with Gary Burton.”

He was there between 1970 and 1972.

He returned to California in 1972  where he had previously studied at Stanford University between 1965 and 1968 and in 1976 received a BM from San Francisco University.

Composer Richard Festinger

More degrees

He continued his studies and received an MA in Music Composition from the University of California, Berkeley in June 1978 and five years later his Ph.D in Music Composition also from Berkeley.

Composer Richard Festinger

Full CV

Composer Richard Festinger

His complete CV is at his site. It is an amazing listing of outstanding accomplishments: administrative positions, positions held, a list of works (dozens), published music, recordings, grants, awards, honors, and residencies.

Most recently, he was the Composer in Residence, Bogliasco Foundation, Liguria Study Center for Arts and Letters,
Bogliasco, Italy, October-November 2016.

Composer Richard Festinger

 

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Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

There is a sufficient Wikipedia entry  and an interview at the 4WaySite to suggest that a blogger could create a worthwhile post about Greg Reeves.

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

One would think.

Reeves, as most 60s rock fans remember, was the bassist for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and played with them at the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Solid.

After that, things are a bit hazy, but we are talking about the 60s and Woodstock alum.

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

A few grains of salt

In the 4Way interview, Reeves says that, “…the very first instrument I learned to play was a miniature guitar… I taught myself from a book that came with the guitar. I was six-years-old and in the first grade.

His Wikipedia entry also states that “he may have graduated from Warren Western Reserve High School in Warren, Ohio in 1968.” If so, he graduated at the age of 13.  He must have skipped a few grades between first grade and high school.

Certainly not impossible, but implausible.

If his Wikipedia birth date  is correct (April 7, 1955) then Reeves was certainly the youngest performer at Woodstock: 14 years old!

In Reeves evasive words, “I was very young, very young!

Having said that, a December 1969 Rolling Stone article describes a “Greg Reeves, a quiet, 19-year-old .” Seems more likely, eh?

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Motown

Before Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Reeves had a Motown connection via Rick James and Motown producer and writer Norman Whitfield may have recruited Reeves.

All Music states that “The bass player in the recording [Cloud Nine by the Temptations] is Greg Reeves, who was soon to join Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.” Reeves says that while he was slated  to play bass on that song, he (with Whitfield’s suggestion) switched to tambourine.

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Mynah Birds

Rick James’s wandering music path led him to Canada in the early 60s. There is a story of James getting into a fight there and Levon Helm and Garth Hudson rescuing him. Another story, another time.

In any case, James formed the Mynah Birds and  one of the players in that band was a young Neil Young.

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Los Angeles with Rick James

So that it would seem that James introduced Reeves to Young when all three were in Los Angeles in the late 60s…but in the 4Way interview, Reeves explains things this way.

He’d been living with Rick James. Neil Young invited Greg to a party at the house Stephen Stills was renting from Monkee Peter Tork. The next day, “David [Crosby] and Graham [Nash] drove up to the apartment where we lived on Olive Drive at the time, right behind the Playboy Club on Sunset Blvd. From the pool I saw them knock on the door, and Rick yelled for me. They asked Rick James who I was and Rick came, got me and brought me out front to the limousine that Graham Nash and David Crosby were in and asked me in front of them, would I mind going with them to jam. I asked Rick James “Aren’t you coming too?”. He said “They want you to come alone”. I went back to the house, grabbed my Fender precision bass guitar and Gibson acoustic guitar, climbed into the limousine and never came back to Rick’s house again. They would not let me go. From the first time jamming with me, they would not let me leave. I stayed with Stephen Stills, Dallas Taylor and Graham Nash at Peter Tork’s mansion in Studio City.

To this day I don’t how Graham and David knew where Rick and I lived. 

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves
Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Here and gone

Reeves recorded and toured with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young from August 1969 to January 1970, including obviously the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

His account of that event is unique. I have read much about Woodstock but had never heard that, “When Graham Nash and me [and Dallas Taylor] arrived at Woodstock, it was raining buckets of water. We came via helicopter. The helicopter crashed landed on the main power line, that was supplying all of the electric power for the concert!

After the crash landing the pilot instructed us not to touch anything in the helicopter and sit still. We did this and it seemed at the time forever. It was hairy scary to say the least! To top off the misery, when it was our turn to play live, we discovered Chris (our roadie) had not flown our equipment to Woodstock correctly. I used Jim Fielder’s bass from Blood Sweat & Tears to play “Sea Of Maddness” with Neil and Dallas Taylor. It was pouring down rain when we performed. Jimmy Lee Marshall Hendrix was on stage with us laughing his ass off at us playing in the rain.”

In September 1969, the band played at that year’s Big Sur festival. You can see Greg in the background during their playing “Down By the River.”

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Stills v Reeves

For various reasons that come at different angles depending on who is doing the talking,  Reeves was asked to leave/was fired in April 1970. One side says Reeves was unreliable and into odd things. Another side says that Stephen Stills had ego issues. In any case, Reeves was gone.

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Life post CSN & Y

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

Neil Young was his best friend in the band and invited Reeves to play on Neil’s classic 1970 After the Gold Rush album.

Neil was also instrumental in getting Greg out of a Mexican prison. Reeves was there from September of 1977 through April 1978: I spent time in a Mexican jail with the Mexican president’s nephew as a political prisoner, because we had tried to smuggle marijuana across the border. True story! Neil Young sent me money (via Western Union) to pay the Mexican police (Judicial Government Police) for my freedom…

He stayed with music and then went away from music. Again from the (excellent) 4Way interiview: I went back to school and got an associate degree in Mandarin Chinese here in Orange County, Ca. at Coastline College. My transcript shows a 4.0 average – honest injun [smile]. I also got my head together serving God and being, as I am now, totally obedient to God.

The All Music site lists a long credit list. We can finally hear some of the music Greg has been writing all these decades now that he has released a single, Workin’ Man.

Happy birthday Greg. Whenever it is!

Mysterious Bassist Greg Reeves

 

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Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures

My Woodstock Story

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
It was a foggy misty Sullivan County, NY morning. It is interesting today when I show these Rt 17B pictures to friends and guest at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Museum, what they see. Many love looking at the cars and tell me how they had that model or how their neighbor had one like it.


Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
More parked cars. Traffic was literally at a standstill. The time was approximately 7 AM

My Woodstock Story
We would ask people, “How much farther?” and their answer always was, “Just up ahead.”


Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
We do not have one picture of ourselves that weekend other than this picture which includes the back of Tony (blue shirt carrying a sleeping bag). We were getting closer, but we didn’t realize it.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
While most locals were unhappy with the traffic and idea of a rock festival, these enterprising people set up a hot dog and soda stand. $1 a dog; $1 a soda. We decided to wait than pay such a high price.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
We found a spot a hundred yards + from the stage toward the left, spread out our sleeping bags, and sat down. This guy was in front of us. His hat and umbrella were unusual to me, so I took his picture. The umbrella was a parasol for the sunny afternoon. Saturday was a beautiful day.


Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Most of my pictures, as you’ll see, were simply of the crowd.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Two lighting towers and the still unfinished artists tent in the background.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Quill. Saturday’s opening act. This is one of the shots through my binoculars.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
When you get tired of group shots, you take a picture of a balloon. In the distance you can see one of the large tent areas that another farmers rented space for.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
I often ask people to “look for the hippies” in these pictures. You won’t see many.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
After Santana finished “Soul Sacrifice” 500,000 people stood to cheer, applaud, stomp, shout, and whistle. It was a physical event. I stood and took two pictures. This one and the next.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures


 

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Not a crowd shot, but simple a peace pillow on top of the typical sleeping bag many of us brought.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Another crowd shot. Perhaps there was a reason why, but it’s lost in my memory.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
When I try to explain who was at the festival, I sometimes half-jokingly say, “White kids getting sunburned.”

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Everyone was high? Not quite, but these friendly people offered a hit to Tony and me. We politely declined.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
This lucky guy scored a can of soda. Now he has to find his way back.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Yet another crowd shot.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Evening. Hungry. We meandered to the Food for Love tents. Empty. Neither food nor love.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
The one night shot. Pretty sure it’s Mountain playing. Note the lighting on the left along the wooden walkway built for staff and musicians to get from the other side of the road to the staging area.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
The Who had finished, the misty Sunday sunrise appeared, and the Jefferson Airplane would close Saturdays 18-hour marathon of music.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Some Sunday risers while some still sleep in their blow-up tents.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
More Sunday morning risers with an abandoned tee-pee framework.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Waiting for Sunday’s music to begin.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Click for sure to enlarge and read the sign of this guy who walked around with his banner–“Love Your Animal Friends, Don’t Eat Them.”

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
Sunday music began with Joe Cocker. One of those binocular shots.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures
My last shot. This woman had the largest afro I’d ever seen and it was bleached white besides. Note the kid (headband) sitting on his Jeep seat.

Woodstock Music Art Fair Pictures

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