Jesse Slokum Goes to Yasgur's Farm

grafix of woodstock
arch, guitar, peace symbol, hookah

"A true account by: Jesse Slokum. Also Known As:
Laughing Cactus, Honeybee
Diogenes DeLarue
Peter Rabbitt"

Please note: The above titles in quotes were to be found on Radio Woodstock's Woodstock Vibe E-zine, on-line. I've changed a few words, and when italics appear within parentheses in the following text, the italized sentences are my post publication interjections. Jesse

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no textBy the time I got to Woodstock, I was 24, had folk-guitared my way around the USA for about two whole years, after withdrawing from Seton Hall U in NJ. I had been drafted, inspected, and re-jected for service as "4f", lived in the "Lower East Side" of Manhattan for a few winters, and camped in the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Santa Cruz, California. I'd actually been to the Village of Woodstock a few times, attending a small festival in '67, called the Woodstock Soundout festival. Sometimes, I held casual employment, sometimes I was a houseguest here and there. I'd attended the San Jose Folk Rock fest, Memorial Day weekend in 1968. Even had paid a visit to the "Hog Farm" in NM, in the fall of '68, so I was aware of what the Hog Farmers were doing at Yasgur's place.

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textI had no idea the event would be that huge...(Who did?)I had no tickets, but something just "told" me to hitch from Colorado in late July, based on grapevine. Glad I did! In the two years of travel, I'd been in several near-disaster situations, so when the magnitude of the NEED was presented so well from the stage the first day, I was more than willing to help, any way I could...Helped cut carrots (hehehe, eh, wuzzup, duck?) - huge organic ones - in the "free kitchen" until I had blisters on both hands. Did I see much of the music over in the field after the first night? No. I had lost touch with most of my car-load I'd arrived with by then, so the free-stage/"bummer"-tent area was much more comfortable for me. (I love what WAVY GRAVY said from the stage at one point - as recorded in the movie - "Word's going around about "bum" trips...I got good news for you! There are no "bum" trips,
HOBO sojourns..." Indeed!)

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textI did meet a few people I knew from previous times. One, a woman named Joanie (who did live in Bloomington at the time - she no longer does...I have lived in Indiana's City of Blooms most of these last 3O years), ended up on the cover of Newsweek Magazine, dancing with none other than FANTUZZI, (who, by the way of Synchronicity Strokes, showed up here in the Spring of 69, about a week after I had arrived from Tucson, AZ). Fantuzzi is the young fellow at the end of the Richie Havens FREEDOM! Medley sequence in the film. The camera cuts to a close-up of Fantuzzi right after Havens gets on the elevator at the back of the stage. Louie - his first name, as he was known that spring in Bloomington - sees the camera, leaps up, crosses his arms in a double peace gesture with his hands over his head as he "MUGS" for the "TV audience"...(giggle-guffaw, chortle :-) He and I didn't see each other at the festival, yet when the film was put together, we were in the same Havens song! I was about 40-50 yards from the stage during the FREEDOM! song. I had just stood up to see what faces as far as ya could see looked like...It hadn't rained yet, so the mood was WAY UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then, I heard Havens sing,

"Clap your HANDS!"

I'd been collecting his albums for several years by 69, knew his material well, and was extremely happy when he was the first performer to grace the stage. So, I whirled around, and began clapping my hands and encouraging people around me to join in. In a matter of seconds, everybody stood up!! Little did I know I was being filmed...Found out when the movie came out the next year, and people began to stop me on the streets, back here in (what afficionados of college-town "dinky-towns" call) Bloomingulch.

image of that

As soon as I find out who handled that telephoto
camera, I will give all credit due for some fine
ZOOM work! - Jesse

Thank you Warner Brothers, for distributing the film.

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textThe day the movie opened in town, I went. Sat near the front. When that scene came along, people around me made me stand up, and take a bow...thunderous applause...within a year, I was getting introduced as "the star of Woodstock" by Asher ben Rubi, the lead singer of a local bar band called Pure Funk. Things did get kinda crazy for a while after that. When people make the comment, "So you had your fifteen minutes of fame?" I say it was more like fifteen months...

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textIn the years that followed, whenever I did see the movie it was in a group situation, and people would gas on me being right there with them. I never got to see the whole song in the movie, until I bought the new l994, 25th anniversary "director's cut" in 1998. Imagine, gentle reader, my surprise...

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no textAnother very weird thing happened when OMEGA MAN, the Ray Bradbury dis-topic novel set in the plausibly near future, was made into a movie. (funny how cities have come to look like they do in the story, and punkish, new-wavicles dress that way - NOW...) Charleton Heston in the lead role... At the beginning of the story, the Heston character walks into a post-disaster, urban location - the town is empty - or, so it seems...He sees a movie theatre with the Woodstock festival movie featured on the marquee...walks in. Empty, even though the lights are still on...sees the lights on up in the projection booth, walks up...Nobody's showing the movie! Ole "Ben Hur" kicks on a projector, and the film cuts to a segment of the scene with the OH FREEDOM! song - where the camera scanning the audience has "panned" back, but it's identifiable as the end of that Clap your Hands sequence I've described. Then, back to Heston in the empty theatre. Extremely weird!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ever been stuck in a 30 mile long traffic jam?
'T'was the Night Before Woodstock

As the years have gone by, my songs have been more and more about (...surprise!)
Or, to quote Bob Marley,
"Emancipate yourselves

Here's a short list of those songs:
Long lost. First one completed.
In the Shadows of Fame
Written and performed all over the United States
Baby Spoons
Hey! we need baby spoons more than we need army tanks!!
From Here to JUBILEE
Look at the world, today...Is there anywhere ELSE to go?

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textI told ya that I didn't get to hear the whole FREEDOM! medley performance of Havens' until July, 1998. That's when I finally discovered what he sings, in the film, when the camera cuts back to the band on stage. He goes, "I got a telephone in my bosom, I can call him up from my heart whenever I need him!" The band chimes in on brother, sister, mother, father!" I truly never recall hearing him sing that the moment it happened. It came as a complete surprise as I watched the 1994 version of the film. All of a sudden, I was dumbfounded!

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textNow I understand (sorta kinda...) why people were matching that "Peace Guy" that Nobody Special with me just plain ole walking down the street! It'd be only natural to link what Richie sang at that point with the fellow in the zoom-up segment, I myself, finally got to make the connection. But Richie writes in the liner notes for his "Resume" cd, that he was reviving a fragment of an old hymn. The antecedent of "Him" in the fragment would be the Most Ancient of Days...I was immediately terrified, then extremely humbled - like never before. (I called a buddy in Atlanta - whom I call DOO-WOP John - for his, at times, sage counsel. He listened, and said, "You didn't have to know, you were WINGING it, it's a gift...I felt a whole lot better then - some of the mystery to me about how people could put that short segment together with someone they knew not at all had been solved...) Let me conclude with this note: Thanks for the chance to dance for y'all. I'd love to meet the artistic people who put the rendering of the FREEDOM! song together.

"...when a man's soul is starving,
what does he care for meat and roof
so that he can but get that nobler hunger fed?"

- Samuel Longhorn Clemens

Can't Get Enuff?
Here's some more:
Country Joe McDonald's Woodstock Scrapbook

Glenn Weiser's Woodstock, Hippy, and Beat Era Links!
(Including these pages...)
He's got a superb collection!!

FLASH! Latest news!! For some Woodstock Film Veterans, the storied saga of serendipitous synchronicty continues to unfold...soon there will be a link right here to a page about this year's re-union at Yasgur's Barn...The guy sitting behind me with sunglasses on in the zoom-up part of OUR audience segment in the FREEDOM Medley signed my guest book last month! (1999) I'll give you news of that and a link to fantastic page of A to Z links he's compiled.

Some friends in Texas, that I met by being in the movie, and having this site, are hoping to compose a book about another Festival that happened in Lewisville, Texas, Labor Day weekend in 1969, with several of the same bands, including Janis Joplin and Santana, appearing...if you were there (or, just for a truly "long shot", your parents say they met there), my friends would like to hear from you, what the heck, you could get into a book!

The Mud/Greenstock Re-union story is here!
The Woodstock 'Yard-Sale' Re-union story is here!
The BareBones RoadRunner RaconTOURage!

Check out

the poster!

banner with image of flowers and let the burden be lifted, may the healing continue See this

Dancing lessons

~PEACE! pass it ON~

This Home Page version: May 26, 1999.
Updated April 10, 2000

You can go to Recollections from here, and visit Jesse's Cyber Cafe.

rainbow rays emanate from the word home

image of mountains,
forests, seas, sky, sun
"My heart's in the highlands, gentle and fair..."

*****All materials copyrighted 1998-99 Jesse Slokum*****