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Woodstock Weekend
Injunction Reaffirmed

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — August 11, 2006 – “They’re party poopers,” remarked a dejected Jeryl Abramson yesterday after NYS Supreme Court Judge Robert Sackett upheld an injunction against Abramson and husband Roy Howard.
The injunction from the Town of Bethel prohibits the Bethel couple from hosting an annual “reunion” on their land which coincides with the anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.
Though the famous 1969 rock festival was held four miles away on Hurd and West Shore roads, Howard and Abramson own Max Yasgur’s old farm on Route 17B, and the legendary farmer is the guy who rented his now-hallowed 37 acres to festival promoters.
That acreage is mostly restricted today, as it is part of the new Bethel Woods Center for the Arts owned by the Gerry Foundation.
So for the past decade, Woodstock aficionados and those just up for three days of partying have gathered every August on the couple’s grassy acreage to listen to music, socialize and patronize on-site vendors – and a few have brought drugs, weapons and bad attitudes, leaving a bad taste in some locals’ mouths (including neighbor Harold Russell, the township’s supervisor).
The town has long had an injunction against the couple, citing issues with crime, traffic and liability, but in 2004 they got a permit, followed by a permitless one that happened anyway in 2005. They didn’t attempt to get a permit for 2006.
This year’s event was advertised on Howard and Abramson’s Website,, as occurring August 11-13 – complete with vendors, security, port-a-johns, insurance and more than 30 bands – but that’s now officially off, said Abramson.
“I have to cancel everything now,” she said yesterday right after the court appearance. “We apologize to the people who count on us every year.”
She said people who try to access their property without permission will be turned away.
“I am disappointed,” she acknowledged, then added with a characteristically defiant edge: “Our hearts are broken, but not our spirits.”
A contempt of court request born of last year’s permitless reunion was reserved for a later hearing, said Russell, who explained that the court is waiting to see what happens – or what doesn’t happen – this weekend.
“The ultimate decision is up to Roy and Jeryl,” said Russell yesterday. “On the town’s behalf, we’re asking people not to attend.”
Russell said he was pleased the judge reaffirmed the 1998 injunction barring any permitless event and felt it sent an appropriate message to residents and visitors in a township dealing with some of the fastest growth in the state.
“It’s important for us to be able to enforce zoning regulations and conditions,” he said.
“The only thing the town asks is that everyone abides by town ordinances,” he continued.
“Look, let’s be neighbors.”
Toward that end, Russell said the town is willing to assist the couple in ensuring traffic flows past their property rather than into it this weekend.
“The town has been planning for it,” he acknowledged. “We’ll work with them. No one is out to singlehandedly try to do anything.”

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