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Valley resident relays her Woodstock story



Published: Mon, August 17, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

Youngstown resident Sheila Venneri also attended Woodstock. She shared her experiences in this e-mail she sent to The Vindicator:

“On August 13th, 1969, I left to go to New York to enjoy three days of music and peace. The idea of seeing every group and solo artist you could imagine perform together at one place was a dream come true.

“My husband, Bob, and I packed up the camper. Thinking we’d get a campsite with electric hook-up, Bob decided to bring our home stereo system, along with four huge speakers. Between 10 and 11 p.m., all packed up along with a few friends, we started our journey.

“Our trip ended about seven miles from the farm. This is how far the back-up was. We noticed two houses on the left, which appeared to be vacant. One house had been taken over by about 30 people. The other house was right next to a mobile home park, and had been claimed by maybe 10-12 people. We parked off the road, went up to the house and joined people from several different states.

“A few new friends helped Bob carry in the stereo system. Then we realized the electric wasn’t turned on. Can you say BUMMER! In the meantime, and unknown to us, one of the couples living next door called the owner of the house. The owner, along with his friends from the mobile home, came and invited us to make ourselves at home. All he asked was to please use only the first and second floors, as he was remodeling from the third floor down and had all his equipment up there.

“Less then an hour later, the couple from the mobile home park returned. The wife noticed the stereo equipment as they were leaving and mentioned it to her husband. Knowing there was no electricity, this man went to his neighbors and collected extension cords, and ran electricity from his home so we could use the stereo. His wife went door to door and got their neighbors to make sandwiches and whatever else they could spare to pass out to anyone that was hungry.

“The following day, August 15th, a group of us got together and hiked the seven-plus miles to the entertainment. I can’t find the words to do justice to the crowd. We danced, we sang, people from all over came together like a huge, happy family. When it was time to go back for the night, as many people that could fit on the back of a state police car got a ride. The officer told us to tap on the back window when he got to our stop, and he’d let us off.

“Many times over the past 40 years I’ve shared this experience with family and friends. The documentary can give you a look at the awesome music, the crowd and even the weather. The music I still listen to, and I’m proud to say ‘I was one of the half-million strong.’

“The personal interaction with the wonderful people in that farm area is the memory I hold in my heart.”


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