Elliot Tiber, Helped Enable Staging Of Woodstock, Dead At 81

Elliot Tiber, an artist, screenplay writer and designer best known as the businessman who helped enable the staging of the landmark 1969 Woodstock music festival, has died. He was 81.

Tiber died Wednesday in a hospice in Boca Raton, Florida, after suffering a stroke, according to his art agent, Elisa Ball.

A New York City native and Hunter College graduate born Elliot Teichberg, his Woodstock experience coincided with his coming of age as a gay man. The festival took place just after Tiber had been present at the Stonewall uprising in Greenwich Village.

Photo: Calvin Ki/Square One Publishers via AP
Shown here in an undated photo.

As he recalled in his memoir “Taking Woodstock,” Tiber had been leading a double life, managing his parents’ motel in Bethel and heading the town’s chamber of commerce, while spending his free time in the gay community in Manhattan.

In the summer of 1969, Woodstock concert organizers had been seeking a location after efforts in Woodstock and nearby Wallkill failed, with local residents fearing the prospect of thousands of hippies in their small communities.

Tiber secured a permit for Bethel and allowed his motel to be used as festival headquarters, a scene that quickly turned chaotic once hundreds of thousands turned up for the three-day show, held on the farm of Max Yasgur. Tiber has said he introduced Woodstock officials to Yasgur, whose farm soon became immortalized in counterculture history, but organizer Michael Lang and others have disputed his account.

Tiber’s memoir became a 2009 film directed by Ang Lee and starring Demetri Martin as Tiber and Eugene Levy as Yasgur. His other books included the memoirs “Palm Trees on the Hudson,” in which he wrote of his years as an interior designer before Woodstock, and “After Woodstock,” which tells of his relationship with Belgian filmmaker Andre Ernotte.

Tiber, who moved away from Woodstock soon after the concert, collaborated with Ernotte on the screenplay for “Rue Haute,” a 1976 release that was Belgium’s entry for the Academy Awards best foreign language film.