Surely you’ve been to a Woodstock benefit for someone who needed help. Or for a cause, for the arts, or to celebrate an event. There’s one in town almost every month, there’s one Sunday for Charles, there’s folks like Marc Black who have played at hundreds of them.
They are the embodiment of the community, they bring us together, show that in the end, we all stand together, rather than hang separately (or whatever that expression is…)
Here’s how one started:
“It all began with a well that went down, down into the bowels of the mountains and refused to produce any water. Fifteen hundred and sixty-five dollars read the note which was signed for the final little trickle. Four cottages had already been built for the well, another debt of another fat fifteen hundred. How would I ever raise the Three Thousand? Inspiration or desperation?…I’ll give a show!…”
So wrote Hervey White in the August 31, 1928 issue of The Saturday Morning, a Woodstock weekly of the time (costing five cents), of the origins of the first Maverick Festival, 100 years ago.
“Ivan Narodny had one cottage, his wife was a singer. I broached the idea to them. They were all enthusiasm in a moment…we could get their friend ‘Lada’ for a dancer…
“Narodny roamed the woods for a stadium, and decided on an abandoned stone quarry in the hillside. The acoustics were wonderful owing to the rock-bound space. The view was lovely. There was a pleasant field below. Unfortunately the quarry was filled with water…but we had dug holes, why not fill one up?”
They labored all summer, ordered lumber, built a stage. All who thought them crazy to begin with, soon were joining in.
“The orchestra came up in the rain…and for two days it rained without ceasing. But the day set was sparkling and clear…and people began coming…” Long lines of cars from Kingston. He worried that all would not be ready. “Alas! The curtainless stage held a confusion of fifty stage hands, building screens, making properties…hammers, saws, shovels and crowbars everywhere. Goats and dogs walked among the audience…
“Suddenly all was finished in an instant. The stage was cleared. The music struck up. Then out of the little quarry stepped ‘Lada’ clad in a court costume of the great days of Catherine. The high headdress was aglitter with pearls. In stately steps the miracle began…The Maverick Festival was a success.”
And so it continues, and as always, we are all a part of it.
Happy Centennial, Hervey. Carry on, Maverick.