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Elliot Tiber, the Man Who Made Woodstock Happen, Passes Away at 81

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(IN TRIBUTE)


Elliot’s three books – Taking Woodstock, Palm Trees on the Hudson, and After Woodstock – Proudly Published by Long-Time IBPA Member Square One Publishers

Written by Fior Fabian, IBPA Intern

Woodstock is the most influential music festival that almost didn’t happen. Just weeks before its opening night, the city of Wallkill in Upstate New York pulled the festival’s permit. Woodstock Ventures was left without a home until Elliot Tiber offered his permit to nearby city and his parent’s rundown motel to serve as Woodstock’s headquarters and talent lodging. The rest, of course, is history.

On August 3rd, just days shy of Woodstock’s 47th anniversary, Elliot Tiber, author of Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert and A Life, passed away at the age of 81. Photo Credit: Calvin Ki, calvin@ntcomudesign.com.

On August 3rd, just days shy of Woodstock’s 47th anniversary, Elliot Tiber, author of Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert and A Life, passed away at the age of 81.
Photo Credit: Calvin Ki, calvin@ntcomudesign.com.

Elliot wrote about the crucial part he played in helping ensure the success of Woodstock in his 2007 autobiography Taking Woodstock: A True Story of a Riot, a Concert and A Life (Square One Publishers). As a man always looking to do more, Elliot pushed hard to make Taking Woodstock into a movie. Anthony Pomes, who worked with Elliot at Square One for ten years, thought it would be a good story for Ang Lee, who had just won the Best Directing Academy Award for Brokeback Mountain. Elliot met Lee, a copy of Taking Woodstock in hand, in San Francisco shortly after Pomes’ suggestion. In 2009, Taking Woodstock was released in theaters.

Taking Woodstock is part of a trilogy. In 2010, Square One published a prequel, Palm Trees on the Hudson: A Story of the Mob, Judy Garland and Interior Decorating, which chronicled Elliot’s life as an Interior Decorator in New York City and as an avid member of the city’s counterculture scene. His final book, After Woodstock, is a bittersweet tale of his marriage, his career in filmmaking, and the friends he lost during the 1980s AIDS Crisis.

In addition to his other pursuits, Elliot Tiber was an unlikely hero for many culturally significant events. Pomes recalls a recent phone call with Elliot the day President Obama declared The Stonewall Inn a national monument. “I could tell he had just been crying when he said to me, ‘I am so happy I lived long enough to see this day.’”

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