BETHEL, NY — This is Steve Gold’s fourth encounter with the actual stage from the 1969 Woodstock Festival. He had first seen it as a teenager when he watched it being built and then at Woodstock when legendary musicians performed on it.
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His next encounter with the stage came a few weeks later when Gold, who grew up in South Fallsburg, was visiting his girlfriend at her family’s Sullivan County bungalow colony.
Her dad asked Gold to help unload plywood panels from his truck. As they worked he said the panels came from the concert stage and would be used to build a paddleball court. Gold had heard the organizers were selling whatever they could to make some money.
When people started talking two years ago about how the 50th anniversary might be celebrated, he recalled that day in 1969. Gold, who now lives in Rockland County, New York, convinced a friend to drive with him to the former bungalow colony. After searching the grounds, they were about to leave when they spotted the walls of the paddleball court in an overgrown area.
Gold got a feeling they were the original stage panels from Woodstock. The new owners let him take some panels which he brought to a wood scientist who analyzed them and determined they were authentic.
Gold provided six stage panels to The Museum at Bethel Woods for display in the “We Are Golden” anniversary exhibit.
Then he co-founded Peace of Stage to give fans the opportunity to own a piece of the stage and share the magic of the concert. The website includes collectibles featuring actual pieces of the stage and the Letter of Authenticity.
Peace of Stage is currently affiliated with five charities through its Stardust for Peace campaign. Stardust for Peace glass bottles are filled with sawdust from the original stage. Each of five charities receives $3 from every sale. The missions of the charities continue the sense of community and caring that existed at Woodstock: Orange Ribbons for Jaime, Feed the Children, The JED Foundation, Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, and WhyHunger.
Because this weekend is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, Gold has launched an effort for common sense gun control.
“I want my generation and younger generations to learn from the lessons of Woodstock that we have the ability to make change happen,” says Gold, a New City resident and co-founder of Peace of Stage which owns the original Woodstock stage. “The stage is a physical reminder of the concert, and we are turning it into a platform to call for gun sale background checks and a Red Flag law. It’s time to awaken the spirit of Woodstock.”
The donated stage panels at the Catskill Distilling Company at 2037 Route 17B in Bethel this weekend, available for signing. He has also made an online petition available for people to sign to make elected officials aware of their concerns and the need to act.