"I think you people have proven something to the world, that half a million people can get together and have three days of fun and music, and have nothing but fun and music..."

American farmer and '60s icon (1920-1973). As far as I can tell, he spent most of his life fairly quietly, as a successful dairy and alfalfa farmer in upstate New York. He'd attended New York University in his youth and studied real estate law, but he moved back to his family's farm in Maplewood in the 1940s. After selling the Maplewood farm and expanding into the Bethel area, he built his farm slowly, but by the late-'60s, the Yasgur farm was the largest milk producer in the county, with its own delivery routes, pasteurization plant, and refrigeration complex.

Yasgur was perfectly content as a farmer and family man, but he stepped into the history books when he agreed to rent his land to a couple of entrepreneurs in 1969 so they could hold a music festival there. With that, he made the Woodstock Music Festival possible and became one of rock and roll's great unsung heroes.

See, the guys organizing Woodstock, like Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, Michael Lang, and John Roberts, were getting nowhere putting their festival together and were getting shown the door everywhere they went. Upstate New York didn't want no longhaired hippie freaks mucking up the countryside. Yasgur apparently decided he didn't mind longhaired hippie freaks that much, especially when they were willing to rent his land for $50,000. When word got out about that, his neighbors threatened to kill him and planned a boycott of his milk.

At a town meeting prior to the festival, after hearing a number of complaints about the upcoming concerts, Yasgur asked, "So the only objection to having a festival here is to keep longhairs out of town? Well, you can all go pound salt up your ass, because come August 15, we're going to have a festival!" And after that, no one else really worked that hard to prevent Woodstock.

After Woodstock, Yasgur moved to Marathon, Florida, where he worked as a realtor. There were a number of offers to market his name on merchandise, but he turned them all down, believing that it would be wrong to try to capitalize on something that was, in his words, "an accident". The only things that he said he disliked about Woodstock were the use of drugs, especially LSD (he was an anti-drug crusader and once said, "Provided all facilities were available, if a festival could be held drug free -- and I know I'm dreaming -- they could have all the private sex and nudity they wanted.") and the immense size of the festival (he'd only expected 40,000 people to show up and felt that the unweildy size of the festival inconvenienced his neighbors).

Yasgur died of a heart ailment in Florida in 1973. He'd often said that he didn't feel that Woodstock's success was anything he could take credit for, but his permission to hold the concert, his "I'm a farmer" speech, and his idealism and modesty established him as a counterculture icon.

Research from http://www.yasgurroad.com/history.htm

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.