The 5th Annual Spirit of Woodstock, in which the Woodstock Film Festival honors individuals who it feels embody the fiercely independent spirit that has made Woodstock famous for over 100 years will this year honor John Hall, songwriter/guitarist/singer and a former U.S. Congressman and, posthumously, Woodstock’s beloved historian Alf Evers. The awards will be given 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, June 3 at a private residence in Woodstock.
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill will present the award to Hall, long known as a member of the Woodstock-based Orleans, a hit-making pop-rock group with multiple lead singers and hits “Still The One” and “Dance With Me.” He has co-written songs (many with his ex-wife Johanna) for music legends ranging from Janis Joplin (“Half Moon”) and Bonnie Raitt (“Good Enough”) to Ricky Skaggs and James Taylor (“New Star Shining”).
But Hall’s environmental concerns led him into community activism. He helped lead the fight against a proposed Greene County Nuclear Plant, and a proposed county dump and incinerator on Saugerties’ Winston Farm. After serving in the Ulster County Legislature and the Saugerties Board of Education, in 2006 Hall won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeating an entrenched incumbent. He served in Congress until January 2011. Hall still performs solo and with Orleans, and last year released his memoir Still The One: a Rock’n’Roll Journey to Congress and Back.
The second award, presented by Ulster County and Town of Saugerties Historian Karlyn Elia, will be awarded posthumously to Alf Evers, and will be accepted on his behalf by his son Chris Evers.
Alf Evers (1905-2004) was a much loved and highly respected historian and author. He resided in Woodstock for the majority of his long life, and made an effort to fully immerse himself in his town. His writings on the Catskills highlight the same qualities the Spirit of Woodstock celebrates: its natural beauty and the unique spirit of the locals. His main works include The Catskills: From Wilderness to Woodstock (1972), Woodstock: History of an American Town (1987) and Kingston: City on the Hudson (2005).
The last day to RSVP is Wednesday, May 17. Tickets are $100 per person and in order to reserve your ticket and to get more details, see www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.