Local doctor reminisces Woodstock 50 years later

Keeps memorabilia in doctor's office

Local doctor reminisces Woodstock 50 years later

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - This weekend, 50 years ago, a music festival in New York attracted an audience of more than 400,000 people. Woodstock.

News Channel 3's Caitlin Thropay met with a local doctor who says he was at the original Woodstock and has the memorabilia to prove it.  

"Peace and Music," the mantra that rang through the weekend of August 15, 1969.

Local ear, nose and throat Dr. Michael Gatto told News Channel 3 it seems like Woodstock was yesterday. He took us around his Palm Springs office to see his memorabilia. 

"These are my original tickets from Woodstock," he said. 

He first heard of Woodstock while living in New Jersey and working as a radio DJ in college.

"At the point we got there they had stopped even looking for tickets at that point because people just cut holes in the fence and went through it," he said. 

The festival was held at Max Yasgur's 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York. 

"People just heard about this and wound up going there with no tickets, didn't know where they were staying, didn't know what they were doing, how they were getting their, hours to get there and yet persevered and stayed there for an entire weekend," Gatto said. 

"This is actually the original contract of The Who at Woodstock," he showed News Channel 3. 

"They got paid $12,500 for a one-hour show," he added. 

He also has the actual backstage pass of Sid Bernstein, the man who produced the Beatles concerts. When asked how he got it, he said from Sid Bernstein himself.

He even has one of the few Woodstock programs. One moment Dr. Gatto remembers is when Jimi Hendrix played the star-spangled banner.

"Everybody sees the [Woodstock] movie and thinks that Jimi Hendrix played during the major part of the concert but what happened was because of the rain and delays and the amount of people that were going, no one performed on time. So what happened was people performed in the middle of the night at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Jimi Hendrix was supposed to go on Sunday night but ended up going on Monday morning at 8:30 in the morning," he said. 

"Jimi Hendrix got the highest salary in Woodstock at $32,000 for his set," he added.

Little did Dr. Gatto realize what history was being made right in front of his eyes at Woodstock and how priceless his memorabilia would one-day become. 

"It turned out to be of course a huge historical thing we only realize once after we left," he said. 

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