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Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival, 1969

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  97 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival was more complicated than the magical, peaceful portrait visitors recieved. Woodstock was as replete with scandal, graft, and corruption as it was with fellowship and high ideals.
Paperback, 515 pages
Published August 1st 1989 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published August 1979)
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Susan
Sep 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1979, this fascinating book has been reissued on the 45th anniversary of Woodstock. It was a marker that defined a generation and this book tells the entire story of how it came into being, from the initial idea until the very last song. Now, if you are imagining a book filled with music anecdotes, then that is partly the case, but be aware that three quarters of this book leads up to the festival taking place and only the last third actually deals with what happened at the fe ...more
Scott Butler
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredibly detailed and engrossing

An essential read if you're at all interested how Woodstock happened. This is probably the best researched, most detailed book on Woodstock to date...every aspect of the planning and production seems to be covered at a level of detail that's absent from the books by Micheal Lang and Roberts/Rosenman. Recommended.
Bill
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is about what went on behind the scenes at Woodstock. Surprisingly readable, and entertaining. If you are interested in how they raised money for the festival or how they rented the portajohns or how they got all those stars to appear on one stage read this book.
Lori
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is fascinating to me how bad the relationships were among some of the key people putting this festival together. It also amazes me how naive and business dumb the person behind the money for the festival was. If any of those statements intrigue you, then read this book. If you have a strange fascination with the festival in any way, read this book. I find this era extremely interesting and I wanted to see how this penultimate festival came together.

You will read a lot about the lead up to the
...more
Malcolm Frawley
Sep 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
This incredible book by Bob Spitz was written 10 years after the Woodstock Festival and the research that went into it is phenomenal. With a cast of, literally, hundreds, Spitz captures what appears to be every moment, from inception to finale on the muddied pastures of Max Yasgur's farm. Woodstock's 4 co-creators (2 pairs of 2) are the unlikeliest team you could imagine but they somehow see this extraordinary event through trial & tribulation to triumph yet financial ruin without ever turni ...more
Kelly
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
See this review on 1776books...
http://1776books.blogspot.com/2014/09...

Incredibly engrossing, Bob Spitz's Barefoot in Babylon tells the often harrowing behind-the-scenes story of the creation of the Woodstock music festival. People usually think of Woodstock as the epitome of peace, where a bunch of hippies sat for a few days in a big field listening to music icons like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. Reading about the organizers' tough journey to put the festival on, along with what actually too
...more
Mike Walter
What a disappointment


I was in Woodstock NY a few months ago and decided I wanted to read a little about the musical festival that didn't happen there but bears its name. I chose to download this particular book out of all my options and boy am I sorry. While I was interested in the planning snafus and personalities of the 4 men who brought Woodstock to fruition I was not ready to be mired in the minutia of every tiny details. I made a note after one section "did we really need a history of the W
...more
Mike Walter
Nov 17, 2015 rated it did not like it

I was in Woodstock NY a few months ago and decided I wanted to read a little about the musical festival that didn't happen there but bears its name. I chose to download this particular book out of all my options and boy am I sorry. While I was interested in the planning snafus and personalities of the 4 men who brought Woodstock to fruition I was not ready to be mired in the minutia of every tiny details. I made a note after one section "did we really need a history of the Wallkill town hall?" w
...more
Gwen
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bob Spitz has done a superb job in capturing the preparations and backstage "goings on" regarding the Woodstock Music Festival. He has painstakingly researched the financial aspects, the signing of the acts, the clearing of both sites, the legal problems associated with the festival and more. After having read the book I am somewhat surprised there were not more tragic mishaps. Three days of peace and love cost a lot in money, manpower, frayed nerves, disputes and the list goes on and on. I now ...more
Joseph Hofmann
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having been of age during this event I thought I knew the workings of it fairly well...lots of luck and a kindly farmer, right? I couldn't be more wrong.
This a story of a couple of out of the box thinking long hairs who have no problem getting high and espousing free this and that all the while spending their backers dollars like monopoly money. That coupled with the wheeling and dealing of all the diverse personalities and throw in an irate Sullivan County populace and you have a recipe for a
...more
Ashley Flynn
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Considering the book was about a highly interesting time period, I definitely enjoyed it. It constructed vivid images in the mind of the good times, the bad times, the sickening times, the times you felt bad for anybody and everybody; it was like you were right there, only present day, seeing the shocking reality of the event itself, and what went into creating it. It had a good flow, I was pleasantly impressed.
Jamie Lyon
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly detailed look at what it took to put on the Festival. Absolutely fascinating! And I must admit that while I was reading it I got so caught up in it that I actually wondered if the concert would happen, which is a credit to the phenomenal storytelling skills of Mr. Spitz. I cannot overstate what a fascinating book this was.
Troy Pelfrey
Jan 27, 2014 rated it liked it
I selected this book because August 2014 will be the 45th anniversary of Woodstock and I wanted to learn more about what went on behind the scenes. This is a well written account of how all the pieces came together. I found it ironic that a festival billed as a weekend of music love and peace was filled with greed, egotistical backstabbers.
Lance
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Bob Spitz is the award-winning author of The Beatles, a New York Times best seller, as well as seven other nonfiction books and a screenplay. He has represented Bruce Springsteen and Elton John in several capacities. His articles appear regularly in magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times Magazine; The Washington Post; Rolling Stone; and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.
More about Bob Spitz