Woodstocks Michael Lang – He will be missed

Woodstocks Michael Lang – He will be missed

We are deeply saddened by the death of our partner Michael Lang. He was a producer, father, environmentalist, friend, husband and most of all, one-of-a-kind dreamer whose mark on the world is undeniable. He will be...

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Courier Journal – ‘No idea what to expect.’ Louisville women remember Woodstock 50 years later

As they listened to Ravi Shankar play his sitar on stage, a pair of University of Kentucky co-eds fell asleep in a field under the August night sky. The year was 1969, and it was Friday, Aug. 15, the first of three days of what would become the most iconic music festival of all time — The Woodstock Music and Art Fair.  With the golden anniversary of Woodstock on the horizon, Louisville natives Karen Knight-Wilburn and Nancy Brown — who were 19 years old in the summer of ’69 — recount their experiences during that weekend 50 years ago. ‘We had no idea what to expect’ The friends had spent the summer working at a motel in Cape Cod and had noticed a poster in a store window advertising a three-day music festival with some big-name performers. The cost was $6 per day or a whopping $18 to attend Friday through Sunday. With time to spare before the start of their sophomore year at the University of Kentucky, the young women splurged on the multi-day ticket, then called their parents back in Louisville to let them know they’d be taking a detour.  “We had no idea what to expect,” Knight-Wilburn said. “My dad told me to give him the names and addresses of where we’d be staying.”  Brown’s parents warned her to stay away from “weirdos.” Fifty years later, those requests still make them laugh.  “What could we have told them?” Brown said. “We’re staying by the third tree to the left of the stage?” So they left Cape Cod with nary a plan, a bag of cookies and one Navy-issued blanket they borrowed from a friend.  You may like: Everything you need to know about the 2019 Kentucky State fair Just getting to the festival site was an adventure. In their little red Volkswagen Beatle, it took the friends seven hours to drive 10 miles on the two-lane road leading to the event entrance. But it didn’t matter. “We loved it,” Brown said. “Sitting in the traffic was just part of the fun. It was really relaxed, we talked to everyone else who were in their cars. Karen blew bubbles and had a lot of other toys. “We took turns behind the wheel or sitting on the hood, so even the traffic was a good time,” she said.  Concert-goers stuck in the gridlock eventually abandoned their rides. Cars were left for miles on both sides of the road. Brown and Knight-Wilburnjoined suit and ditched their VW and walked the final...

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The Washington Post – Listening to her older records, Joan Baez hears perfection in an ‘unsurpassable’ voice

The Washington Post – Listening to her older records, Joan Baez hears perfection in an ‘unsurpassable’ voice

The Kennedy Center honoree redefined folk music and showed up wherever her songs and courage were needed. Folk legend Joan Baez, one of the five 2021 Kennedy Center honorees, at her Northern California home in 2018. (Ramona Rosales) Imagine a young woman, free of makeup, a curtain of black hair, barefoot even in the Massachusetts winter, burnishing 200-year-old ballads in a crammed Cambridge coffeehouse, picking like an old hand at her acoustic guitar. At the launch of the 1960s, this was radical, inverting music on its shiny, hair-sprayed head. Joan Baez landed on Time magazine’s cover, lauded as the Queen of Folk. All at the august age of 21. Her searing soprano with its trademark vibrato exhausted superlatives. It was declared incomparable yet compared to everything: old gold, the clear autumn air. It was deemed a line straight to God — staggering, the voice of an enchantress, a sibyl, a siren. “The gift,” she calls her voice, which once traveled three octaves. “If I view it that way, then I can appreciate it and talk about it for what it is, not something I created,” says Baez, now 80. “It helps me stay grateful.” Yet, she had a hand — or, precisely, an index finger — in augmenting her sound. At first, the vibrato had to be coaxed. As a teenager, “I literally sat in front of the mirror and wobbled my Adam’s apple up and down,” she says, demonstrating the Baez vibrato technique via Zoom, from the kitchen of her Northern California home, a portrait she painted of her granddaughter above the fireplace. Many performers practice public self-abnegation about their talent. Please, I can’t bear to hear my work. Not Baez, one of this year’s five Kennedy Center honorees. “I love to listen to my albums,” she says. There are 40, one issued almost every year during the first two decades. Baez is partial to her sound on the early ones. “That instrument is just unsurpassable. That little vocal box and all that stuff comes out — it’s just, to me, it’s some kind of its own perfection,” she says. The perfection, by her own estimation, lasted 20 years. Baez performs at the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, R.I., in 1963. (Max Desfor/AP) “She got bigger than folk singers ever get. She didn’t come across with a lot of ego,” says Roger McGuinn, founder of the Byrds, who first heard Baez as a teenager...

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