Fifty years ago, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Sly & The Family Stone, Joe Cocker and many other rock ‘n’ roll legends shared the stage at the historic 1969 Woodstock music festival. Beginning with Richie Havens’ set that started at 5:07 p.m. on August 15, 1969, a total of 32 acts would grace the stage at the event originally billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.”
Built in 23 days on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm near White Lake in Bethel, New York, the Woodstock stage construction was supervised by Woodstock Master of Ceremonies Chip Monck. Following Hendrix’s final notes on the morning of Monday, August 18, 1969, it took another three weeks to dismantle the stage.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Peace of Stage is offering music fans the opportunity to purchase pieces of the genuine authenticated original 1969 Woodstock stage in various collectibles, such as Peace Pendants, Stage Frames (with a four-square-inch piece of the stage) and Acrylic Frames.
“We decided to create various items of that legendary festival by offering small pieces of (literally) the centerpiece of the event, the Woodstock stage – the same floorboards on which Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and other rock greats made magic – as collectibles they can treasure,” said Peace of Stage co-founder Steve Gold. “People have an intense emotional attachment to the festival, whether they were there or not. With the Woodstock 50th concert still up in the air, the original stage is the only artifact that exists for people to touch and reflect upon. Its importance is beyond measure – it’s like the Holy Grail of rock music. To be able to give them a chance to own sections of the original stage is something I had to see through.”
Gold was 15-years-old when he attended Woodstock 1969. Shortly after the festival, Gold assisted his girlfriend’s father with unloading a truckload of plywood intended to be used to build a nearby paddleboard court. Gold learned then that the plywood came from the dismantled Woodstock stage.
“I was told it was the wood from the original Woodstock stage, and I couldn’t believe it,” Gold said. “I was literally holding sections of where Jimi Hendrix stood.”
Gold remembered the experience and 48 years later he returned to the Robi Lane bungalow colony in upstate New York (about 15 miles from Yasgur’s Farm) where he had helped unload the plywood. The paddleboard court was still there and much of the wood from the Woodstock stage also remained. Gold convinced the bungalow colony owners to let him take possession of it.
“There was still painting on the wood in certain places, and I knew they were markings,” said Gold. “I looked at concert pictures and said, ‘That’s where Richie Havens was playing.’”
Gold secured around 3,000 square feet of the stage. He went on to co-found Peace of Stage with Randy Garcia and David Marks, offering music fans the chance to purchase authentic pieces of the original Woodstock stage.
“Something they’ve only seen in pictures is suddenly right in their hands,” Marks said of the Peace of Stage artifacts. “It’s something they can hold and touch. The connection is immediate. We’ve even heard from people who say they’ve put their ear to the pieces of wood, and they can feel the vibrations of the music.”
In addition to the Peace Pendants, Stage Frames and Acrylic Frames, small collectible glass bottles of sawdust (aka “stardust”) created from the stage flooring are available as part of the charitable Stardust for Peace campaign. Proceeds from the campaign will go to five charities: Orange Ribbons for Jaime, Feed the Children, WhyHunger, the Jed Foundation (JED) and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
“We felt that each of these charities reflects the spirit of Woodstock, and it was important to bridge the generations through these contributions,” said Gold. “Orange Ribbons for Jaime is named after Jaime Guttenberg, one of the victims of the Parkland High School mass shooting, and it promotes common sense gun reforms. Feed the Children is exactly what it says it is, and it’s as vital now as it ever was. WhyHunger feeds people, too, but it also supplies housing for veterans. The Jed Foundation is dedicated to anti-bullying and educates kids about suicide prevention, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund honors our troops who sacrificed their lives at that time. As you recall, Woodstock was very much rooted in the anti-war protest movement.”
Peace of Stage loaned six panels of the Woodstock 1969 stage to the Bethel Woods Museum for their exhibit We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future. Peace of Stage will also participate in the Yasgur Road Reunion event commemorating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary being held August 15 – 18 at the original Yasgur homestead and calving barn in Bethel.
“We’re going to have a vendor booth, and we’ll be hosting it on social media,” he says. “People can have their pictures taken next to the actual Woodstock stage, and they can hashtag it to #woodstockstage to show that they were there.”
[Sponsored content: Peace of Stage is a client of JamBase]
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