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Book Review: Michael Lang's The Road to Woodstock 

The Deal: Woodstock organizer Michael Lang shares his experience of putting the music festival together and what followed.

The Good: The book not only gives Lang's point of view, but incorporates quotes and opinions of many of those who were involved in the festival – musicians, organizers, security, festival goers, security and more. It discusses what the original plans were, how they changed, what went wrong and what went right. From Lang's meetings with city councils to farm owner Max Yasgur and the musicians themselves. Lang talks about all the rumors of Bob Dylan playing the festival and whether they were justified, what bands wanted to play but didn't and bands that weren't crazy about playing, but showed up anyway. It deals with everything from the dirt and drugs to the money and hassles.

The Bad: If you're looking for a lot about the festival itself, look elsewhere or watch the movie. The majority of the book deals with everything that went into getting the festival together and all the hurdles they had to jump over. Sure, it covers the three days from Havens to Hendrix, but there's a lot more to it than that. Maybe it was just my copy of the book, but the scanned-in map of the festival grounds wasn't easy to read.

The Verdict: Maybe I haven't done enough research on the topic, but there's a lot of insider and background information about the organization of the festival that I had never heard about before. It's definitely worth checking out, not only to hear about Woodstock itself, but about how Lang tried so hard to get the festival together in every way that he could.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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