Elliot Tiber: Giver of Woodstock History
President of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce Elliot Tiber is responsible for giving Woodstock Ventures Inc. the permit for holding Woodstock in Bethel, NY. Tiber, in an attempt to save his parents; El Monaco Motel from a floundering upstate New York hotel industry offered to hold the festival on the land surrounding the motel. Tiber eventually introduced Woodstock concert promoters to Max Yasgur, whose dairy farm became the site for Woodstock.
Tiber was a resident of Bethel, NY and described living a closeted life. He was an instructor of creative writing at New School University, fine art at Hunter College, and art design history at the New York Institute of Technology.
He was at the Stonewall Inn during the Stonewall Riots, which took place in June of 1969. The riots involved gay men and lesbians taking to the streets in protest and overturning a cop car. This event marked a huge milestone in the gay movement within New York as well as nationwide. The event led Tiber to embrace his sexuality which he had kept a secret even from his own family. Tiber’s life continued to be swept up in the whirlwind of counterculture when he heard of the Woodstock festival being denied a permit to perform in Wallkill, NY.
Tiber contacted Michael Lang of Woodstock Ventures Inc. and offered his permit to the organizers. When Lang rejected Tiber’s offer to hold the festival on the 15 acre swampland surrounding the hellish El Monaco, Tiber had the idea of asking his milkman Max Yasgur to rent his farm to the organizers. Yasgur supported the local Earthlight Theatre group to which Tiber had rented his barn, and agreed to let Woodstock Ventures Inc. use his farm for what would become the largest music festival in history.
Tiber has written a book recounting the steps and freak occurrences surrounding the Woodstock festival titled Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert, and a Life. A movie by the name of Taking Woodstock will open in theatres nationwide on August 14, 2009 and features Academy Award winning director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), and deadpan comedian Demetri Martin as a young Elliot Tiber. Call it an accident, call it destiny, it doesn’t much matter; the occurrence of Woodstock remains a compelling event in defining an entire era.
Elliot Tiber resides in New York and has performed his one-man standup show titled “Woodstock Daddy” and spearheads projected titled “Gaystock’, which is planning a music and arts festival around the Fort Lauderdale area. The Gaystock festival hopes to promote peace and unity among people of any sexual orientation. Sites for the event are being investigated and the venue hopes to accommodate 200,000 people.