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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

SF, NY Fight Over Woodstock Name

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Country Joe at Woodstock, 1969 - JIM MARSHALL
  • Jim Marshall
  • Country Joe at Woodstock, 1969

Who owns the name Woodstock? That's the central issue in the brouhaha between the promoters of San Francisco's Free Woodstock 40th Anniversary concert and New York-based Woodstock Ventures.

Today at 1 pm at John's Grill, a group of Summer of Love survivors, er, veterans, including former Maritime Hall honcho Boots Houghston, former SF DA Terrence Hallinan, legendary acid-folksters Country Joe McDonald and Barry Melton, Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers and Super Lotto Winner Dennis "Mr. Lucky" Sanfilippo will announce they do not plan to comply with a cease and desist order from Michael Lang of Woodstock Ventures intended to put the kibosh on a free 40th anniversary concert scheduled for October 25 in San Francisco.

According to a press release Houghston sent out, Woodstock Ventures has been shaking down "any event in the world that plans to celebrate the "40th Anniversary of Woodstock" or use art or phases that contain 'PEACE & MUSIC.'" However, Houghston says, SF has as much as right to the name as anyone. No less than 18 of the groups which played the original 1969 concert were from San Francisco. Furthermore, much of present-day SF was once called Woodstock, according to an 1878 map made by Governor HH Haight, namesake of SF's Haight Street, and a distant relative of Jerry Garcia (just kidding about the distant relative part).

It's never a good thing when hippies fight. Especially aging hippies. And it does seem silly to put a price on peace and love. Charging the promoters of a free concert does seem to go against the spirit of the Summer of Love--and appears to be a violation of the hippie code of ethics, which holds that being a greedy jerk is totally uncool, man. Here's hoping that Lang wises up and stops trying to harsh SF's mellow.

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Eric Arnold


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