New York And San Francisco Battle Over The Rights To Woodstock


It seems the East Coast-West Coast rivalry is being dug up again, which we’re sure Biggie and Tupac would be amused at. It’s 40 years ago this August that the legendary Woodstock festival took place, which saw electric performances by Santana, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead, The Who, CSNY, and Jimi Hendrix among others. Now, though, the celebration of four decades of influential music is being disputed by San Francisco and New York companies, who are arguing who owns the rights to the name “Woodstock.”

As reported by SF Weekly’s All Shook Down, Woodstock Venture’s Michael Lang is putting out cease and desist letters to all companies, organizations, and groups trying to plan festivities for the iconic festival. Lang, who was one of the co-creators of the original 1969 Woodstock, is trying to stop “any event in the world that plans to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock’” as well as any art or phrase that contains the words “peace and music.” Really? Is the economy that bad you have to limit the use of the word “peace”? Is “love” going to be next?

Veterans of the late 60s festival, including SF former venue owner Boots Houghston, Country Joe McDonald, and Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers, rallied yesterday to publicly denounce the idea and do not plan on complying with Lang’s request, citing that nearly 20 bands who played the original Woodstock in Bethel, New York were from San Francisco (Writer’s note: Hell fucking yeah!) (Editor’s note: Go back to Cali you hippie!). A gala scheduled in October to commemorate the 40 years of Woodstock is still being planned by the group. Hopefully these Summer of Love guys can just drop some acid and hug it out.

POSTED May 29, 2009 4:53PM IN THE TRIPWIRE Comments (6) TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,




  1. david bowie says:

    I think every article needs dueling writer/editor notes.

  2. allen roizman says:

    they just can’t trust each other because they’re all over 30.

  3. Jenz says:

    David Bowie! Thanks!

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  5. LittleLunaTuna says:

    (For the record, it’s Boots Hughston not Houghston.) I live in Colorado and am an East Coast transplant. I would love to attend both events but have plans to attend the one in Speedway Meadows. I attended the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love produced by Hughston in 2007 and you could not have asked for a better planned event, more peaceful crowd or better weather. Not to mention the entertainment. I am wondering what Wavy Gravy (Hugh Nanton Romney) has to say about all the hoopla and dissension swirling about the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock? For anyone reading this who does not know, Wavy Gravy was in charge of event security at the 1969 Woodstock event. His bio includes being walked by the hand by Albert Einstein. He was in attendance at the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love concert in 2007. He lives in California and runs Camp Winnarainbow, about 3 hours north of San Francisco. I have read elsewhere that he was the Master of Ceremonies for all three Woodstock concerts to date. It seems no Woodstock concert would be complete without him. If anyone can offer words to solve this dispute it would be Wavy Gravy.

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