August marked the 40th anniversary of the iconic event of the 1960s: the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair.
I remember watching the astonishing news reports. I knew people who had made the pilgrimage to Yasgur’s Farm, but I was busy that summer before my senior year in college. I missed the chance to be part of one of my generation’s defining moments: three days of mud, music, peace, love and the kind of recreational activities that were very popular back then.
Dan Garson ’72 caught it all on film. A 17-year-old high school student at the time, he managed to get credentials to cover the event for his school newspaper.
I learned about Garson and his Woodstock photos four decades later, when his dad, Harry Garson, called. Harry wanted us to know that his son’s old pictures were attracting a great deal of media attention. Sure enough, a Google search turned up numerous stories, including a feature and photo gallery from The Hartford Courant, a photo collections in USA Today, and another in the British Guardian online news site.
Garson’s photos had been pulled out of his parents’ basement for the definitive (i.e. expensive) Woodstock collection being published by the renowned British company, Genesis Publications.
Well, I know a good story when it drops in my lap. The timing was a bit off; this would have been perfect for the fall issue of the magazine, which had just come out. Maybe the story would seem old by November, when the winter magazine published.
But this was too good to pass up.
Sadly, Dan Garson wasn’t able to tell his own story. He died of melanoma in 1991. However, his friend Brad LeMee took on the mission of seeing the extraordinary photos restored and published.
LeMee provided several photos for the University Magazine story, as well as this photo of Dan Garson. He looks so young, bright and eager. His life was tragically short, but he accomplished a lot. Woodstock was the beginning of a successful career.
I hope this story resonates with many readers as it did with me.