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The Pied Piper of Woodstock Paperback – October 19, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


ForeWord Clarion Review



The Pied Piper of Woodstock

Artie Kornfeld

Spirit of the Woodstock Nation


Five Stars (out of Five)


More than a mere three days of peace, love, mud, and music, the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Festival was a cultural landmark in a tumultuous decade. It was the brainchild of Artie Kornfeld, songwriter, music producer, and so-called “Pied Piper of Woodstock.” In his memoir, Kornfeld traces his life from early musical prodigy to organizer of the concert that changed the country.


Pied Piper begins when Kornfeld was a musically gifted child raised by a radical socialist mother and a union activist father. Kornfeld became the youngest VP at Capitol Records at the age of twenty-one, and by twenty-four he had written more than seventy-five songs that hit the Billboard charts. Kornfeld’s ebullient, swiftly paced prose takes readers nimbly through his pre-Woodstock years, portraying his achievements as formative steps on the way to his crowning glory—Woodstock.


Pied Piper details every step in the development of the momentous festival. From booking the acts to securing a venue, each piece of the process is described in a casual, intimate tone that draws in the reader. The meat of the book comes in long chapters each devoted to one day at Woodstock, with subsections for each performer that include lively character sketches. True to activist form, Kornfeld expounds on the Woodstock ethos of “peace and music” and why it was so important.


Kornfeld’s book is more than a simple memoir of one of the most important concerts in U.S. history; it is also a detailed, personal account of the 1960s’ rock culture, music, and personalities. The text contains historical photographs and news clippings about key players on the Woodstock scene. Also included are lyrics from Kornfeld’s rock songs and full-color reproductions of dreamy, pacifist paintings by Jim Warren. Pied Piper provides a panoramic, comprehensive collage of the times and people (complete with a detailed index at the end).


With a highly personal and chatty style, Pied Piper uses a wealth of detail to create excitement as the intricate concert preparations come to fruition. A constant stream of anecdotes brings to life the personalities of the festival without becoming bogged down in minutiae or confusing the reader. This is one book that really makes readers feel like they were there.


As a valuable historical document of an important concert and a joyful paean to the revolutionary spirit of an era, The Pied Piper of Woodstock will engross historians, rock lovers, and casual readers alike.

Elizabeth A. Allen

About the Author

Artie Kornfeld is a music industry icon. He has been a hit songwriter, performer, producer, publisher, label executive, manager, and promoter. Best known as the cocreator, producer, and promoter of the Woodstock festival in 1969, Artie embodies the spirit of the greatest musical and social phenomenon of our time. He has personally known the rock stars, lived the dream of the Woodstock Nation, soothed the egos of anxious musicians, written the songs that propelled them to the top of the charts, and arranged the deals that made them famous. From childhood through his days at the Brill Building and Capitol Records, through good times and bad, "The Pied Piper of Woodstock" leads us on his tumultuous journey to Yasgur's Farm and beyond. He gives us the inside scoop on what Woodstock meant to his generation, and what it continues to mean to all who appreciate what occurred during those three magical days in August 1969.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Spirit of the Woodstock Nation, LLC (October 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615325998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615325996
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,030,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Black Hole Gang on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once I received my copy, I stayed up late, reading it with great interest. As I have already described below, I am fascinated in the subject of this book and Artie Kornfeld has a perspective I have never seen fully explored before. It's been nearly 50 years since he started down the path to becoming a pivotal force in the music industry. He cowrote many songs you would know, including the classic Dead Man's Curve (working with Glen Campell and Leon Russell, who were part of Wrecking Crew at the time). He's managed the careers of many big names. Early on, he launched the Cowsills by cowriting The Rain the Park & Other Things (I Love the Flower Girl). He also cowrote "Follow me...I'm the Pied Piper..." hence the title of this book. He's had personal and professional relationships with Sonny & Cher, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, John Sebastian, Bert Sommer, Chuck Berry, Neli Young, and the list goes on. Artie has finally collected reminiscences from his life in music, including the historic experiences that culminated in 3 days of Peace and Music in 1969. He has a message that is still relevant to a war-torn world today. He bares his soul in a brutally candid and touching chapter that deals with addiction and the heartbreaking loss of both his beloved wife, Linda, and daughter Jamie. Artie: we will all be together again someday, my brother, we are still together. My sincere condolences to you. In my next breath, I should congratulate you for your lifelong achievements.

The book is very nicely produced with a good deal of colorful artwork and photographs. The chapters are categorized and also broken down into bite-sized sub headings, which makes for pleasant reading - like taking a box of tasty chocolates to bed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jed B. Rinzivillo on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of the most anticipated book releases in the music industry, "The Pied Piper of Woodstock", the memoirs of Woodstock 1969 co-creator Artie Kornfeld. The book is a no holds barred, real deal account of the before-during-and-after of Woodstock told by the heavily influential music icon. In addition to outlining Kornfeld's life growing up in the culture of American music, it covers his early career as a performer and songwriter, to his breakthrough as a producer promotion director, label owner, and arranger of some of the biggest names in music. Artie Kornfeld promises an interesting and accurate, tell-all depiction of growing up in the culture of American music and putting on the granddaddy of all music fesivals.

At a very young age, Kornfeld found himself swept up in the music phenomenon of the 1960's. He co-wrote the song "Pied Piper", which became a U.S. number one hit, soon found himself in the studio with Dion and the Belmonts and, after becoming the youngest-ever VP at a major record label in his early 20's, Kornfeld became a major driving force behind making the Woodstock festival a reality. Artie's dedication was solely responsible for Warner Brothers making the event into an academy award winning documentary, solidifying Woodstock's place in American history.

As far as the 1969 festival is concerned, Kornfeld had the bands and connections to make it happen. The first vice president of rock and roll had been involved in the most chart topping songs and events of the time with a passion to get the message out. Kornfeld also convinced Fred Weintraub, VP of Warner Brothers to sign a hand written Woodstock movie deal only one day before the festival.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Colucci on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
Eventhough I have never met artie Kornfeld personally, I feel an intense connection and union with this true Paragon of Peace and Love. I have expressed to Artie in email and through blog posts my sincere appreciation to him for his vision and efforts in making the Original Woodstock Event such a reality, and for his continual efforts to bring peace and harmony to this nation and the world. It was because he gave birth to the most peaceful and life altering event in American history that My very life was changed forever.
It was at this event while stuck in traffic on 17b that a young girl hopped onto the back of my motorcycle and rode with me into the 1969 Woodstock Festival. We spent three magical days together. Less than a year later Maria became my wife. On June 28 we will celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. Our story was recently featured on a Dateline NBC "Back to Woodstock" special.
With great anticipation I have just ordered "The Pied Piper of Woodstock". Thank you Artie for making my dreams come true, and thank you for producing this wonderful book in which you give us great insight into the wonderful person you are by sharing your thoughts, love and inspirations.

October 20,2009
Artie I hope everyone reads your book in the same manner I did, slowly savoring every line. Phewwww, I just read the last three chapters. Totally blew me away. I know my higher power directed me to read it this way. Incredible! Having attended the 1999 Woodstock event (at the ORIGINAL site) as I did thirty years prior, because I too thought the Spirit had been corrupted with the new venture and location, I felt your sense of betrayal.
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