YASGUR ROAD REUNION
Max Yasgur was a dairy farmer in the Town of Bethel, NY in 1969. When approached by four young men, Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, to lease his 40-acre alfalfa field to host a music festival, Max said yes. The Town objected but, since no law existed at the time restricting the use of private property for public gatherings, that would come later, The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival commenced, and history was created. The tiny hamlet of Bethel was overrun with rebellious young people fighting not to fight on foreign soil. Instead, they gathered for an historical 3 days of peace, love, and music.
After 1969, The Town of Bethel soon became its own battleground. The townspeople were against any repeat performance of Woodstock. The burden on the resources in this rural farming community had once been stretched beyond capacity. The town was determined to enact every law possible to prevent another catastrophe like Woodstock. However, the Hippies of 1969 were determined to return to the hallowed field each August to commemorate that which gave voice to a generation through its music. So began The Battle of Bethel over The Annual Woodstock Reunion.
The Battle of Bethel, the 50 years’ war, began in 1970. In 1996 when Bethel Woods acquired the original site for the development of the performing arts center. The Hippie gathering was left homeless. Roy Howard stepped in.
Roy had purchased the 100-acre homestead of Max and Miriam Yasgur in 1988. In 1993 Roy, his wife Jeryl and their son, Zack, moved to the farm. In 1996, when the original site became unavailable, Roy opened up his heart and his land, just like Max did, and invited you home and championed your right to be here.
Roy passed away in 2012. Jeryl has since conveyed the entire estate of Roy Howard into a permanent home and campground in memory of Bethel’s greatest heroes: Max Yasgur and Roy Howard.
And so, on behalf of Roy Howard, and in honor of Max and Miriam Yasgur: Welcome Home to Yasgur Road.
Jeryl Abramson Howard