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Dedicated to the Historic Preservation of the Site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival
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|Elliot Tiber -- Another Woodstock Hero|
ELLIOT TIBER is the man who gave the original permit to hold a music and arts festival in White Lake, Town of Bethel, New York State in the summer of 1969.
If not for Elliot, there would not have been the now acclaimed Woodstock Festival on Yasgur's Farm. Elliot operated the disastrous El Monaco Motel for 12 years before the miracle of the century appeared.
As President of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce for several years, Elliot obtained a permit for a Music/Arts Festival which he attempted to get started on his own mini 15 acres at the entrance intersection of Route 17B & Route 55. That spring of 1969, a total economic disaster for all of Sullivan County, Elliot gave his barn to the Earthlight Theatre Group from NYC's Greenwich Village in exchange for a season of theatre. He converted his casino (former bingo room) into an underground cinema, also, given rent free to film people trying to get a start in the movie biz.
Nobody in the county responded to the art shows which displayed Elliot's own paintings (he was a Professor of Fine Arts at Hunter College/City University at the time ) and the work of the then County Historian, Manville Wakefield, who is also a painter. Only Elaine Grossinger & her family arrived to lend support to the goings on! The locals were busy hating Tiber & his Greenwich Village hippie theatre misfits, homosexuals and lesbians, who found a safe haven in a county beyond humane redemption, and his Jewish parents who were installed at the ugly motel.
The Woodstock Festival was originally planned to take place near Woodstock, NY, which is 60 miles from Bethel. Plans fell through for that location and the festival moved to Wallkill. In July of 1969 Elliot read that the festival was in trouble in Wallkill. He phoned the Woodstock offices, spoke to Mike Lang, and invited him to avail the festival with his permit. Suspicious Lang, having been bombarded with hucksters, cheats, and liars for a year while trying to get Woodstock installed, asked what the price a.k.a.catch was?
The catch was, and still is to this day, that the people of Sullivan County and the World want this event to take place! And because of the handful of local politicians who, for the sake of their own agendas, do not want Woodstock to happen (unless, of course, it is to their own economic advantage) the world was robbed of 27 festivals.
When the Woodstock Crew ruled out The El Monaco swampland and were about to get back into their helicopters, limos, and quit... Elliot panicked. He said his milkman, Yasgur, had plenty of land.. land that was a natural amphitheater, filled only with cows. "I'm sure Max will put the cows in his house if they are in the way. Max supported our theatre barn, he loves music.. Lets go ask him!!"
We did. He did. They did. It was done...
"For the record, Max Yasgur made the best sour cream, cottage cheese, and ice cream in the world! And he personally brought his goodies to feed the Earthlight crew and performers -- who were mowing the lawns and eating the cuttings as salads when things were so economically dire at the height of the business season in downtown White Lake that year!"
The rest is now movie history as they say. It took 20 years. In 1989, Elliot came out - and got in touch with Michael Lang and the 20th anniversary celebrations. Life Magazine featured Tiber & his search for the Woodstock Baby (which he delivered himself). After being totally invisible about his major role in the Woodstock Nation, finally, Elliot was doing national and international media interviews telling the story.
In 94, Festival Conservancy press published his hilarious blow by blow description of how he came to be (as the media referred to him) “The Gay Man” who helped give birth to the Woodstock Nation!
After Woodstock, Elliot sold the El Monaco Motel to its present owners, and fled to Europe. He became an instant success writing and starring in his own television comedy specials on French Network television in Belgium. This lead to writing plays and musicals for theatre with his new partner, famed Director, Andre Ernotte. Within a quick 3 years he won Grand Prix awards for best films at the Grenoble & Paris film festivals and then he and Andre had their first novel, Rue Haute, a bestseller. It was made into a film and became the official Belgian/French entry into the Academy Awards. It became a semi-finalist. Their major hit musical comedy: "Attention Fragile" in Paris lead them to NYC, where they wrote and developed plays and musicals.
He lives in Manhattan & commutes to Paris, Brussels, & Amsterdam.
[excerpt] - Courtesy of Yasgur's Road Productions, 1997
By: Elliot Tiber
A true story of the Woodstock Daddy's move to Brussels, Paris and Amsterdam
THE TRUE STORY OF A RIOT, A CONCERT, AND A LIFE
Story by Elliot Tiber with Tom Monte
Square One Publishers (2007)
Film by Ang Lee (2009)
A man working at his parents' motel in the Catskills inadvertently sets in motion the generation-defining concert in the summer of 1969.