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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Duke Devlin Woodstock 2009

9th Finglish trip October 2009 #2

Duke Devlin, though not a Finn, is an interesting person. In the Summer of 1969 he hitchhiked up to Bethel, N.Y. and arrived a couple of days before the Woodstock festival with fifty cents in his pocket. He got a job at a foodstand making hotdogs and hamburgers during the Woodstock event.

Woodstock was a music festival held on a dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains, northwest of New York City, between August 15–18, 1969, which attracted an audience of more than 400,000.

He said it was an amazing weekend with a lot of “herbs and spices” floating around. Duke stayed to help clean up after the Woodstock event and then got a job on the dairy farm right across the street. Time went by, and he met his wife and settled in Jeffersonville, N.Y.

By 1989 the memory of Woodstock was fading. As fate would have it, Duke was visited by a woman reporter from France who was looking for any hippies left in Sullivan County from the Woodstock event. She was told there was and he lived in Jeffersonville, N.Y. Duke met and talked with the reporter. She wrote an article about it for a newspaper in Paris. The story went out on the AP Wire and soon people began coming to the Woodstock site in droves.

Soon after the Gerry Foundation purchased the property they wanted to put on a little show in the original area where the Woodstock show was held. They asked Duke to get involved. It was clear they were testing the waters for what would later become the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts. The show was a success...people came. And later the performing arts center was built.

Jonathan Drapkin, CEO at the time asked Duke to become the Bethel Woods Site Interpreter. His job was to sit by the Woodstock monument and tell people stories about the Woodstock event. Duke went on to tell us stories about all the famous performers and celebrities he gave tours around the Bethel Woods Site in his eight seater golf cart. He mentioned Ringo Starr, Tony Bennett, Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Dave Matthews

Next Työn Temppeli - Labor Temple Harlem New York USA

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