John Morris, One Of The Organizers Of The Original 1969 Woodstock Festival, Dead At 84

John Morris, One Of The Organizers Of The Original 1969 Woodstock Festival, Dead At 84

John Morris, who helped organize the historic 1969 Woodstock arts and music festival, died Friday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, his family confirmed to the Times. He is 84 years old.

Morris died after a long illness: he had suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for many years and had previously suffered from cancer.

"One of the things I love most about John is that he is one of the most egalitarian people you will ever meet. He wouldn't think twice about putting a plumber next to the Queen of England at a dinner party and it would be funny, just like him. He's one of the most egalitarian people you'll ever meet," said Logan Fernandez, Maurice's partner of 33 years. To The Times: “He saw people as they were.”

Fernandez continued: "He's an adventurer. I've had incredible adventures with him. He has a great sense of humor. I love teasing him for being semi-famous." "He has friends all over the world, from all walks of life. He is always there. Stay in touch."

Before joining the Woodstock Organizing Committee, Morris worked as a rock concert producer for major acts such as Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and the Grateful Dead. He worked with Bill Graham, the sharp-tongued concert promoter who championed rock shows during San Francisco's psychedelic era and led the rise of pop music as a cultural force.

Morris produced the first East Coast tour for San Francisco-based Jefferson Airplane and helped them launch their first European tour with The Doors, fronted by Jim Morrison. After headlining this tour, Morris performed at the Anderson Theater in New York City, one of the first downtown rock venues. He then began working at Graham's New York rock venue, the Fillmore East, which opened in 1968. There Morris produced shows for Janis Joplin and B.B. King.

Due to the success of his numerous concerts, Morris was chosen to headline the Woodstock Festival production and served as the program's de facto MC. He specifically stated in a public speech that Woodstock had become a "free concert."

“I was going to wait a little bit to talk about it, but we're going to talk about it now so you can think about it, because you all have to, all of us, have to make some kind of plan for 'it' being a free concert from now on. That doesn't mean that everything is fine “That means we'll have free music here,” Morris told the crowd, as captured in the 1970 festival documentary “Woodstock.”

I mean, the people who support this, the people who are invested in it, they're going to take a little bath, a big bath. He continued: "This is not a fantasy, it is real, and they will be hurt," before turning to an important message of unity and peace. “But it means that the people who bring this here, they think your well-being and their well-being are more important than music than dollars.”

Morris noted the problems faced by the Woodstock production team in a 2017 interview.

“We were one of the largest cities in New York State at the time (400,000 people) — we were able to put on one of the biggest concerts ever, which was immortalized in the movie Woodstock,” Morris told the Malibu Times. “You can see me in the film announcing and getting as close to a nervous breakdown as possible. On Sunday we had what was later called a hurricane that came through the festival, heavy rain and wind – the stage started sliding, and it looked dangerous.

Recalling the incident, he said: “I had to ask everyone to get off the tower.” "We're sad, we're sure. I still think it was the best party I've ever been to."

After Woodstock, Morris organized the opening of the Rainbow Theater in London as a rock venue. The Who performed at the venue's opening concert on 4 November 1971. Morris, who was always busy working as a concert producer until the 1990s, collaborated on tours with Paul McCartney, Santana, Chuck Berry, Ike, Tina Turner and David Bowie. Pink color. Floyd, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Frank Zappa, among others.

Morris was born in 1939 to a military family in Gramercy Park, New York City. His father served in the US Army during the Korean War. After the war ended, the family moved to Pleasantville, New York. Morris studied theater at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh and then worked as a lighting designer on Off-Broadway productions before beginning his career as a producer of rock shows. .

Fernandez is survived by his brother Mark Morris, nephew Eric Morris, and nieces Nicole Myrick, Mary Fernandez and Katie Fernandez.

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