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The Road to Woodstock

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  871 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Michael Lang, the mastermind and creative genius who brought Woodstock to life, narrates the story of this cultural touchstone in music history. He began producing concerts and shows in the mid-'60s, organising Miami Pop in May 1968, then one of the first festivals of its kind. Miami Pop helped Lang create the blueprint for Woodstock, and the story of his long journey to a ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 30th 2009 by Ecco
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Jared McGuckin
Oct 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm not going to bury the lead here, I really enjoyed this one. I know a few people have complained that that there's too much back story and we don't get to Woodstock until page 167. But, here's the thing, the title of the book is "The ROAD TO WOODSTOCK", which implies more than a bit of backstory to the 1969 counterculture festival. In any event, I found this book to be engaging and inspiring.

As a music nut, I just ate the words off the page, but found it's much more than a book about music. A
...more
Sharon Chance
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing


It’s hard to believe that 40 years ago, on a dairy farm in upstate New York, musical history was made. And that four decades later, people would still be talking about the phenomenon known as Woodstock.
Sure, there have been movies, documentaries and scores of books about the 1969 festival, but perhaps the defining account of what really went into putting on one of the most spectacular concerts in history can be found in the words of the man who thought it all up.
Michael Lang’s book, “The Road To
...more
Alicia
Jan 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting book written by one of the creators of Woodstock, about how the idea came about and how they pulled it off.

I'm kind of obsessed with the sixties. It's my favorite decade to read about, given the changes that were happening during that time. I've read and watched quite a bit on Woodstock, and so naturally I was inclined to pick this book up from the library the other day.

To start, I'll say that apparently some people didn't know this was going to be more of a backstory and det
...more
Patrick Esposito
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who was 19 at the time of Woodstock and a 1A draft classification, I remember the days of this festival well. At the time that it occurred the newspaper and TV accounts focused on the rain the mud, the drugs. What they did not discuss was the months of planning, setbacks, hard work and love that went into the planning and execution of this festival and how obstacles were overcome while being planned and as it was happening,

I especially enjoyed the sections that discussed the performer
...more
Anna
Jun 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have always been kind of fascinated with the Woodstock Festival - I even did a project on it in the 6th grade. It was such a cultural phenomenon and such a huge representation of counterculture and change in the US in the 60s! This book about the festival crossed my path at the library recently, and I was intrigued again. It tells the whole backstory of how Woodstock came to be by the man who created the festival, Michael Lang. It's pretty amazing how much money, planning, and collaboration w ...more
Christine Rebbert
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it
A good account of what went into putting together Woodstock. The writer has a bit of a smug attitude, and a little loose of an outlook on the use of drugs (like, all the time), but hey, if I was able to produce the biggest show of all time, etc., maybe I'd be smug too, and unable to do it without drugs, LOL... Anyway, it was very detailed and brought back a lot of memories of the people and events of that time period. I wish he'd have been a little more open about the "reunion" shows in '94 and ...more
Maggie
I didn't know much about Woodstock past the most popular history, and I enjoyed learning about the planning, logistics, and quest for just the right site from Lang's book. The writing was really uneven, though. The italicized portions that started each chapter were vivid and in the moment; the rest of book was bland prose, more telling than showing, and chunks of interviews that were just plopped in instead of being well integrated. Sometimes I found myself questioning Lang's reliability as a na ...more
Dominick Borrelli
Nov 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
When i first started to read this book i was excited to read about my favorite music era. This book focused more on a Jewish man from Bensonhurst who grew upin an Italian Jewish neighborhood. over the summer he went to camp in the Catskills mountains which lead him to creating the concert of Woodstock. Although the festival was in Bethel they called it woodstock because of how close it was to where Bob Dylan lived. The festival was full of Drugs, Rain, Mud and music. what seemed to be a multi m ...more
John
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because it took me back to people and places from when I began in the music business, a few years after Woodstock.
Melissa
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great read for lovers of music, from production to performance.

I had no idea the planning that went into Woodstock. The best people in advertising, pr, security and more were handpicked to create this three-day art and music festival.
Roel Vandommele
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heel fijn om dit zo bekende verhaal eens van binnenuit en in detail te lezen. De droom, het professionalisme waarmee hij werd aangepakt, het overrompelend succes en het leiderschap waardoor de grootste menselijke bijeenkomst buiten oorlogstijd niet in chaos ontspoorde.
George Chorney
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never gets old.

After reading "Barefoot in Babylon", it was nice getting another perspective on the festival. Was inspired to listen to the bootleg version of the music.
Michelle Pinkney
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fascinating look at behind the scenes of the historical festival!
Kaye Cloutman
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As we approach the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival, you might think that by now every moment of the summer of ‘69, the days leading up to the fabled weekend, and those following it would be chronicled in the greatest of details. The summer of 1969 was, after all, the culmination of something great, something both wondrous and ominous, which had been brewing and stewing for decades - a kind of heady mixture of ingredients like art, culture, communication and technology which made that ...more
Ted Hunt
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
While the book is not a great piece of literature, it really captures this moment in time. It is festival promoter Michael Lang's memoir of the event, so it clearly comes from a particular point of view, but it does contain the recollections of dozens of participants: organizers, builders, musicians, festival-goers. My knowledge of the Woodstock festival came from a combination of being an interested 14-year-old in 1969, seeing the movie and listening to albums, reading the occasional article, a ...more
Bob
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, 2015
This is essentially a memoir written by the producer of the 1969 music and arts festival known as Woodstock. The event, "three days of music, arts and peace," could never have taken place without Michael Lang. He was the calm inside the eye of a hurricane of chaos. A master organizer and visionary who organized the event, Lang stayed true to his original idea even as others tried to subvert this vision with their own ideas; like Abbie Hoffman trying to co-oped the event for his own political pu ...more
Robert Thompson
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book provides a magnificent insight into how Woodstock 1969 came about. I found it thoroughly well written, vastly entertaining and entirely engaging.

I've read numerous Woodstock books that chronicle the event through the eyes of those who attended the event. However, to read the story behind the scenes of Woodstock, from concept through fruition and beyond, through the eyes of one who was central to production is priceless. This is a story only Michael could tell with anecdotes skillfully
...more
Livia Linhares Miller
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Woodstock is kind of an obsession of mine. They managed to gather an enormous audience + the best musical acts in this beautiful property for 3 days, while the weather sucked, they ran out of food, sanitation, shelter, and STILL whoever attended loved it and thought of it as a life changing experience. But how? Why can't this be achieved again? Why do current festivals not have the same atmosphere?

Because Woodstock is a state of mind.

Out of all Woodstock books I've read, this is my favourite on
...more
Don
May 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Michael Lang was the guy who conceived Woodstock, and was principally responsible for organizing and putting it together and for defining its ethos. As the guy at the center of it all, this book is an invaluable historical resource, describing everything from the founding of the Woodstock Ventures partnership that funded and produced the show, the staffing of it, the selection of and negotiation with artists, the marketing of the show and all of the problems involved in fining a location.

Some of
...more
Mike
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Wow, when you think about all the stories about the drug culture of the 60's, this book really brings it home just how much drugs were a part of the whole music and festival scene. Seems like none of those directly involved with Woodstock could go a few hours without taking a hit of something. Hard to believe that the organizers could pull it off. And the tales of how some of the acts were so stoned makes it even more amazing that the "show went on." What's more interesting has been to read the ...more
Tim
Aug 31, 2009 rated it liked it
The man behind Woodstock gives us an often fascinating, though ultimately too-short book about the event that became a cultural benchmark. The title is significant; much of the book is about the ins and outs of the planning of the event, including a previous festival Lang produced (also featuring Jimi Hendrix) that turned out serving as a sort of dry run for the much larger event to come.

The book is consistently interesting and is broken up with input from many of those involved in Woodstock, in
...more
Colleen Reed
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was an impulse buy for me after seeing it at my university's bookstore and I am so happy that I found it. Prior to reading, I knew little about the Woodstock festival other than it occurred in the late 1960's in New York and it was considered an amazing musical accomplishment. Although this book only spends a few chapters talking about the festival itself and spends the rest of the book explaining what Micheal Lang and his associates did to pull the festival off, it still provides an amazin ...more
Ray Campbell
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
The book begins with the biography of the primary organizer, his first attempts to produce rock shows and festivals in Florida. His story is entertaining enough, but less than a fifth of the way through, the road to Woodstock turns toward Woodstock. The story is fascinating. Lang covers the politics of getting a location, legal and financial issues. As we approach the date, we get the inside story on everything from building the venue to booking the acts. Many of the side stories are funny, some ...more
Ian Young
If you are interested in the event that was known as Woodstock, then you should read this book. Watching the movie Taking Woodstock got me interested again, I watched the Director's Cut of Woodstock and then I found Michael Lang's book. It's fascinating how this seminal event almost never happened on so many occasions. In the end the vision of Michael Lang prevailed and the world was a better place for it. Lot's of behind the scenes information about how it came together, the major and minor pla ...more
Josh
Dec 09, 2013 added it
The purpose the author had in writing this book is to inform the reader of what actually happened at Woodstock in 1969. Michael Lang (author) was apart of creating the festival. so you get a first hand experience of what happened. The theme of the book i think the author was trying to say was that peace love and music can happen in the world. This book was a description of the event Woodstock that took place 1969 on Max's farm. He talked about first hand experience that happened to him and what ...more
David Ward
The Road to Woodstock From the Man Behind the Legendary Festival by Michael Lang (Harper Collins 2009)(781.660797) was a huge disappointment. What a weak, weak book. The author apparently believes that his personal back story is what the reader wants to hear. This tome runs 285 pages, and the festival hadn't even started by page 169! Does the author really think that it's important to the story - or that any reader would care - that the author once ran a failed head shop in Miami, or how the sho ...more
Erica Schwer
Sep 20, 2011 rated it liked it
The story of the creation and execution of Woodstock from the creator himself. There is no better person that can describe the planning and experience of Woodstock Music & Arts Festival in 1969 than Michael Lang, thus making this book the perfect source of its history. Those who have any interest in Woodstock will get a very in-depth look at the intense planning of the festival. I thought this book was going to be more a musical retelling, but I was pleasantly surprised to take a dip into it ...more
Regina
Jan 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been in awe of the idea of Woodstock, even though it occurred several years before I was born. I was hoping to learn more about it in this book, written by one of the creators and producers of the historical festival. Although there is a lot of information here, it felt more like Lang tried to mention every single person he knew during that time in his life, and spent a lot of time talking about finances, personal grudges, and the like. I did enjoy the photos and the accounts of th ...more
Christina
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Any self-respecting music fan should read this book written by "the man behind the legendary music festival." An insider's view from the beginning of the concept up to an hour-by-hour detailing of the three days of peace and music, and beyond. Absolutely gripping: I read the book in five hours over the weekend and couldn't put it down. Woodstock is a testament to a time when our hearts were in the right place. I urge you to view this Aquarian Exposition through the lens of your own life. Wh ...more
Elise
Oct 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
BORED.

I love Woodstock. I love the music and the culture and the idea of peace and music for an entire weekend.

This book is a poorly written narrative. Essentially, Lang dropped out of college to open a head shop with a girl friend. Neither worked out, so he moved back to NYC. He heard about the town of Woodstock and its community of artists. He wanted to create a music festival.

The entire book is like that. So much name dropping with little explanation, or explanation in areas that didn't need
...more
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“This is the way to hear music, I think, surrounded by rolling hills and farmlands, under a big sky.” 4 likes
“At Woodstock, we would focus our energy on peace, setting aside the onstage discussion of political issues to just groove on what might be possible. It was a chance to see if we could create the kind of world for which we’d been striving throughout the sixties: That would be our political statement—proving that peace and understanding were possible and creating a testament to the value of the counterculture.
It would be three days of peace and music.”
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