Too Young


So Daily Dancer went on vacation:

The last three nights of our vacation, my girlfriend and I went to a magical place... No, not Disneyland, but even better. We went to Camp Winnarainbow, which is a performing arts camp in Northern California. It is a place where people can let their crazy selves loose without worrying what people think. Activities there include juggling, stilt-walking, unicycling, sleeping in teepees, dressing up, playing music, and, of course, dancing! And dance I did at camp. :D

If you proceed to the link for Camp Winnarainbow and poke around a bit, you find out that the founder is kinda sorta famous. (Well, certainly more famous than the people who ran the Goshen Boy Scout Camps back in the 1970s.)

Wavy Gravy, Camp Director, Everyone'z Clown and Nobody's Fool, is known for his work at benefit events and for his "comic consciousness" as a clown and M.C.

He taught improvisation at Columbia pictures (while teaching the same class for the neurologically handicapped at California State University). Wavy studied with Viola Spolin and acted with The San Francisco Committee.
Wavy MC'd all three woodstocks.

He completed his second book, Something Good for A Change, for St. Martin's Press, and Ben & Jerry have named an ice cream flavor after him.

Comments on the camp here.

Wikipedia recounts Wavy Gravy's first brush with fame:

"My God, they made us the cops"

During the first Woodstock Festival Wavy Gravy and fellow members of the Hog Farm Collective were put in charge of security. Wavy called his rather unorthodox group the "Please Force," a reference to their non-intrusive tactics at keeping order ("please don't do that, please do this instead"). When asked by the press— who were the first to inform him that he and the rest of the Hog Farm were handling security—what kind of tools he intended to use to maintain order at the event, his instant response was "Cream pies and seltzer bottles," both being traditional clown props.

Well, security at Woodstock I was better than security at Altamont.

The stage, which was only four feet high, was surrounded by Hells Angels who acted as bouncers; the sound system was hardly sufficient for such a large audience. The Angels were hired by the Rolling Stones' manager, Sam Cutler, reportedly for $500 in free beer, although it is suspected that their involvement was, in reality, motivated by a desire to manage drug distribution at the concert. The crowd management proved to be a disaster and many people were hurt and four were killed. Two of the deaths were caused by a hit-and-run car accident. Another death was the result of a person drowning in a drainage ditch. The most famous death was that of Meredith Hunter. Hunter, an 18-year-old African American drew a long-barreled revolver and was stabbed and kicked to death during the Rolling Stones concert just in front of the stage, allegedly by the Hells Angels. News agencies reported the event as a "drug induced riot." The Rolling Stones, who reacted rather helpless facing the brutality within the crowds, had to interrupt their performance. Unaware that Hunter had been fatally stabbed, they decided to go on in order to prevent a riot.

The Altamont concert is often contrasted to the Woodstock festival that took place earlier in 1969, and is sometimes said to mark the end of the innocence embodied by Woodstock. However, there were many other factors contributing to the end of the counterculture.

In popular culture, the events at Altamont have been characterized as Hells Angels attacking innocent hippies. Various drugs were present at the event, some of which were of poor quality. These drugs were distributed to unknowing victims during the concert, with a resulting increase in "bad trips." Hells Angels acting as security guards were not only using some of these drugs, but were probably not the best people to handle these cases. Unlike Altamont, Woodstock's security had been provided by members of the hippie commune, the Hog Farm, led by Wavy Gravy. Obviously, fellow hippies would understand what those on LSD were going through....

On May 25, 2005, the Alameda county sheriff's department announced that it was closing the stabbing case. The accused Hells Angel, Alan Passaro, had been acquitted at the time, after a jury concluded he acted in self-defense because Hunter was carrying a gun, drew it, and pointed it at the stage. There had been rumors over the years that a second unidentified assailant had inflicted the fatal wounds, and as a result, the police had considered the case to still be open. Investigators, concluding a renewed two year investigation, have now dismissed a theory that a second Hells Angel took part in the stabbing.

Let's return to happier subjects:

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969 drew more than 450,000 people to a pasture in Sullivan County. For four days, the site became a countercultural mini-nation in which minds were open, drugs were all but legal and love was "free". The music began Friday afternoon at 5:07pm August 15 and continued until mid-morning Monday August 18. The festival closed the New York State Thruway and created one of the nation's worst traffic jams. It also inspired a slew of local and state laws to ensure that nothing like it would ever happen again....

The counterculture's biggest bash - it ultimately cost more than $2.4 million - was sponsored by four very different, and very young, men: John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld and Michael Lang. The oldest of the four was 26. John Roberts supplied the money. He was heir to a drugstore and toothpaste manufacturing fortune. He had a multimillion-dollar trust fund, a University of Pennsylvania degree and a lieutenant's commission in the Army. He had seen exactly one rock concert, by the Beach Boys.

Robert's slightly hipper friend, Joel Rosenman, the son of a prominent Long Island orthodontist, had just graduated from Yale Law School. In 1967, the mustachioed Rosenman, 24, was playing guitar for a lounge band in motels from Long Island to Las Vegas....

Artie Kornfield, 25, wore a suit, but the lapels were a little wide and his hair brushed the top of his ears. He was a vice president at Capitol Records. He smoked hash in the office and was the company's connection with the rockers who were starting to sell millions of records. Kornfeld had written maybe 30 hit singles, among them "Dead Man's Curve," recorded by Jan and Dean. He also wrote songs and produced the music for the Cowsills.

Michael Lang didn't wear shoes very often. Friends described him as a cosmic pixie, with a head full of curly black hair that bounced to his shoulders. At 23, he owned what may have been the first head shop in the state of Florida. In 1968, Lang had produced one of the biggest rock shows ever, the two-day Miami Pop Festival, which drew 40,000 people. At 24, Lang was the manager of a rock group called Train, which he wanted to sign to a record deal. He bought his proposal to Kornfeld at Capitol Records in late December 1968....

Woodstock Ventures was trying to book the biggest rock'n'roll bands in America, but the rockers were reluctant to sign with an untested outfit that might be unable to deliver. "To get the contracts, we had to have the credibility, and to get the credibility, we had to have the contracts," Rosenman said. Ventures solved the problem by promising paychecks unheard of in 1969. The big breakthrough came with the signing of the top psychedelic band of the day, The Jefferson Airplane, for the incredible sum of $12,000. The Airplane usually took gigs for $5,000 to $6,000. Creedence Clearwater Revival signed for $11,500. The Who then came in for $12,500. The rest of the acts started to fall in line. In all, Ventures spent $180,000 on talent. "I made a decision that we needed three major acts, and I told them I didn't care what it cost," Lang said. "If they had been asking $5,000, I'd say, 'Pay 'em $10,000.' So we paid the deposits, signed the contracts, and that was it: instant credibility."...

A concert ticket also bought a campsite. But even a commune requires some kind of organization. In late June, Goldstein called in the Hog Farm.

The Hog Farm started out as a communal pig farm in California; its members eventually bought land next to a Hopi Indian reservation in New Mexico. Its leader was a skinny, toothless hippie whose real name was Hugh Romney. He was a one-time beatnick comic who had changed his name to Wavy Gravy and held the wiseguy title of "Minister of Talk". "We brought in the Hog Farm to be our crowd interface," Goldstein explained. "We needed a specific group to be the exemplars for all to follow. We believed that the idea of sleeping outdoors under the stars would be very attractive to many people, but we knew damn well that the kind of people who were coming had never slept under the stars in their lives. We had to create a circumstance where they were cared for."...

Elliot Tiber read about Woodstock getting tossed out of Wallkill. Tiber's White Lake resort, the El Monaco, had 80 rooms, nearly all of them empty, and keeping it going was draining his savings. But for all of Tiber's troubles, he had one thing that was very valuable to Woodstock Ventures. He had a Bethel town permit to run a music festival. "I think it cost $12 or $8 or something like that," Tiber said."It was very vague. It just said I had permission to run an arts and music festival. That's it." The permit was for the White Lake Music and Arts Festival, a very, very small event that Tiber had dreamed up to increase business at the hotel. "We had a chamber music quartet, and I think we charged something like two bucks a day," he said. "There were maybe 150 people up there."

Tiber called Ventures, not even knowing who to ask for. Lang got the message and went out to White Lake the next day, which probably was July 18, to look at the El Monaco. Tiber's festival site was 15 swampy acres behind the resort. "Michael looked at that and said, 'This isn't big enough,'" Tiber recalled. "I said, 'Why don't we go see my friend Max Yasgur? He's been selling me milk and cheese for years. he's got a big farm out there in Bethel.'" While Lang waited, Tiber telephoned Yasgur about renting the field for $50 a day for a festival that might bring 5,000 people. "Max said to me, 'What's this, Elliot? Another one of your festivals that doesn't work out?'" Tieber said.

Yasgur met Lang in the alfalfa field. This time, Lang liked the lay of the land. "It was magic," Lang said. "It was perfect. The sloping bowl, a little rise for the stage. A lake in the background. The deal was sealed right there in the field. Max and I were walking on the rise above the bowl. When we started to talk business, he was figuring on how much he was going to lose in this crop and how much it was going to cost him to reseed the field. He was a sharp guy, ol' Max, and he was figuring everything up with a pencil and paper. He ws wetting the tip of his pencil with his tongue. I remember shaking his hand, and that's the first time I noticed that he had only three fingers on his right hand. But his grip was like iron. He's cleared that land himself."

Yasgur was known across Sullivan County as a strong-willed man of his word. He'd gone to New York University and studied real estate law, but moved back to his family's dairy farm in the '40s. A few years later, Yasgur sold the family farm in Maplewood and moved to Bethel to expand. Throughout the '50s and '60s, Yasgur slowly built a dairy herd. By the time the pipe-smoking Yasgur was approached by Woodstock Ventures, he was the biggest milk producer in Sullivan County, and the Yasgur farm had delivery routes, a massive refrigeration complex and a pasteurization plant. The 600 acres that Ventures sought were only part of the Yasgur property, which extended along both sides of Route 17B in Bethel.

Within days after meeting Yasgur, Lang brought the rest of the Ventures crew up in eight limousines; by then, Yasgur was wise to Woodstock, and the price had gone up considerably....

From the Ontario Empoblog