In 1963, when the bloom was still on the rose, Bob Dylan described Woodstock as a place where ‘we stop the clouds, turn time back and inside out, make the sun turn on and off… the greatest place’. Six years later, he wrote in Chronicles: Volume One, ‘Woodstock had turned into a nightmare, a place of chaos.’
Barney Hoskyns, who lived there in the 1990s, marshals plenty of evidence to support both assessments. This Catskills hamlet has been at various times a blue-collar small town, a bohemian enclave, a tourist trap, a hotbed of creativity, a cauldron of hedonism, a madhouse and ‘a counter-cultural touchstone’. In its heyday it attracted such luminaries as Janis Joplin, Van Morrison, Todd Rundgren, George Harrison and The Band.