Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Norwegian Folk College Travels the Experience Woodstock Corridor

The Norwegian students in Woodstock
In January the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts inaugurated the Experience Woodstock Corridor between Woodstock and Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. The Woodstock Festival of 1969 was conceived and was supposed to take place in Woodstock, NY—but due to space constraints, among other factors, was eventually sited in Bethel. The corridor has been established to honor the connection between the roots of Woodstock and the event itself.

At CPW (formerly Café Espresso)
On Bethel’s seasonal opening day of April 2nd, a tour bus of 37 students and instructors from a Norwegian folk college (folkehØgskoler) began their day at The Museum, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, and then travelled the Experience Woodstock Corridor to Woodstock. Here they were met and welcomed by Marcus Lindner of Journey Art, who is also a board member of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce & Arts.

At WBG with photo of Dylan
Lindner first took the visitors to the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild (WBG) building at 34 Tinker Street. He explained how the organization is the steward for the Byrdcliffe Art Colony. The Byrdcliffe campus is about a mile from the town center and was founded in 1902. This organization jumpstarted the artistic and creative tradition that survives to the present day. Next he took them across the street to the Center for Photography (CPW) at 59 Tinker Street. It was here, he explained, that one of the key musical hotbeds of the 1960s was located. The Café Espresso, as it was known then, was run by Bernard and Mary Lou Paturel. On weekends, many of the leading folk acts of the day played. They included performers like Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Happy Traum, John Herald and Rev. Gary Davis. Upstairs in a studio Bob Dylan wrote Another Side of Bob Dylan and Bringing It All Back Home.

The Norwegian visitors stayed in Woodstock for several hours before heading back out on the road . . .

~Weston Blelock

With thanks to Marcus Lindner for the photos