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Woodstock’s swan song
Question of the Day
For sale: Rustic property with mountain view, $8 million.
Old hippies, take note. Another Woodstock icon is about to drift off into history — or commercial development, anyway. Max Yasgur’s farm is up for sale in Bethel, N.Y., less than two miles from the original site of the 1969 music festival, which has since mutated from legend to lucrative brand name.
But please. Call it the “Yasgur residence.”
The dairy farmer was immortalized in the lyrics of Joni Mitchell’s laudatory anthem, “Woodstock.” His old digs, however, have their own cachet. There are three bedrooms, sunrooms, a garage and a barn, which includes “windows hand-painted with ‘60s music icons,” according to New York-based real-estate broker Brett Joshpe, who specializes in high-end, often historic properties.
It was Mr. Yasgur who agreed to allow concert promoters to use 38 acres of his alfalfa fields between Aug. 15 to 18 that pivotal year. On the final day, he stepped on the stage and told almost 500,000 giddy, hirsute revelers, “You people have proven something to the world.”
Mr. Yasgur left his farm less than two years after the festival, dying of a heart attack just 19 months later at age 53.
Though it has a complicated pedigree, the property retains a distinct heritage.
Portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens and Joan Baez form a gleaming triptych on one hand-hewn wall of the old barn, below a fourth window that bears a peace symbol. True to the era, the house is a melange of clutter, psychedelic rugs, odd collections and ersatz art.
A larger farmhouse also on the 103-acre property has been renovated to include vaulted ceilings, whirlpool tubs and fancy appliances that might appeal to some well-heeled old rocker.
The older couple that has lived there for 22 years wants out, though. Roy Howard, 73, and his wife, Jeryl Abramson, bought the house from Mr. Yasgur’s widow, Miriam, in 1985, and are ready to sell. Mr. Joshpe went public with the news yesterday.
Old hippies making a pilgrimage to the proverbial fields of Woodstock might believe they are hallucinating these days.
The year-old, $70 million Bethel Woods Art Center now occupies the actual concert site, complete with a 7,500-square-foot stage, a copper-topped pavilion seating 4,800 and a manicured lawn for an additional 12,000.
A museum will open next year, promising an “interpretation” of Woodstock and walking tours of the “bowl,” where the concert stage once stood.
The sprawling venture was financed by billionaire Alan Gerry, who bought the remaining 1,700 acres of the Yasgur farm a decade ago. Back in the day, however, he forbade his own daughter, Annalise, to attend the festival. She went anyway.
By Michael P. Orsi
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