Max Yasgur, Woodstock Festival Hero
Bill Osmundsen is a sculptor and artist, a former art foundry owner and as a card carrying living relic of the Beatnick and Woodstock generation. A former resident of the New York Metropolitan area, the Artist now has his 'Down Under Art Studio' in the Historic Ben Franklin Block Building in the colorful seacoast town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. An active and professional Artist since his teenage years Osmundsen has held major One-Man Exhibits in the major Cities of the East Coast, New York, Houston and even Oslo, Norway. His outdoor public artworks maybe seen on the highway (I-95N), Welcome Center and State Liquor Store, New Hampshire; In the town park of Frisco, Colorado and at the Boy Scout Headquarters in Greenwich, CT. Commission artworks have come from Lipton Tea, Inc., Cartier Inc., Americas Cup Committee. His Bronze Sculptures have been used for Awards and presentations;- most notably by HM King Olav V of Norway during his Oslo Exhibit.
Last summer I received an email from a freelance writer by the name of Dale Deffer. She introduced herself by way of our grandparents connection. Both families of Norwegian descent knew eachother in the summer resort community of Rowlands PA. where I had spent every summer of my early youth. Dale went on to explain the connection and asked if I would assist in the creation of a monument to Max Yasgur.
Max Yasgur, was dairy farmer across the Deleware River which separated our summer retreat in Pa. and White Lake - Bethel, in New York. In 1969, Max was approached by the Woodstock Folk Festival for a venue to hold concert.
Now a lot of people think the Woodstock Festival took place in Woodstock, New York, but the town couldn't accommidate it and another New York town further north wouldn't either. It was the age of Aquarious, the 'flower child', the Hippie and for the conservative towns folk of 1969 this wouldn' t do.
Max was the largest Dairy Farmer in the county and had serveral large Alfafa fields, to feed the milk cows;- one of which he agreed to let to the festival.
Max had to fight the town but prevailed and the greatest gathering of humanity in modern times was held for three days on his fields. Music was played and some of the legendary musicans of the 60's became noted at this gathering which swoll to a half-million people.
Headling at the music festival:- Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Greatful Dead, Joe Cocker and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Petty exciting hugh! noone ever forgot it, not that year, not next year not in 10, 20, 30, 40 years.
On it's site was built the beautiful Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a perfect location for a bronze statue of a modest farmer, that made one of the human wonders of the 20th century possible.
We all don't get to know much about farmers' in today's world but in New Hampshire, I did call one my friend who lived across our road and raised cattle. I got to appreciate the 24 hour job which continues 365 days without a brake. If nothing goes wrong it's a hard living, but often calamity is always around the corner and the farmer must be resourceful.
There is also a kindness and humanity I saw first hand and wanted to relate in my life portrait.
By Christmas I had my 2 ft. clay model completed but about 6 months ago, on June 24, 2016, Sam, Max's son died. So my plan to discuss my model never happened. Just tonight, though, I found this wonderful u-tube, a presentation by Sam Yasgur, explaining much of his feelings and his insights to Woodstock and his Dad. It's long, but wonderful, and worth your time. It made me happy I took up this project. Please give it a listen. And if like a contribution as we are entering the 'casting stage.
Thank you, Bill Osmundsen
Here's the link