Letter: Over 50 Years Since Woodstock and Street Dances

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Fifty years ago, Woodstock took place in August 1969.

In Laguna Beach, in the late 1960s, street dances with live bands attracted hundreds of teenagers to Forest Avenue, between Glenneyre and Coast Highway. Sponsored by a Youth Council, a group of teens advised by the YMCA and conceived by the local Episcopal priest, Bob Cornelison, the dances were very popular for several years and caused no problems.

The Laguna Beach Lumber Co., then owned by the Jahraus family, built and donated a number of 4 x 8 plywood barriers with frames and delivered them to the site the afternoon of a dance and then, with the city council’s approval, the 4-foot barriers were tied together in a zig zag manner which allowed the Youth Council to collect entrance fees which made the dances self-financed. Carl Klass ran a high voltage line out over his store‚Äôs front door through a small window which gave plenty of power for the bands.

In spite of phone calls complaining about the dances, Mayor Vedder insisted they go on, probably because he had worked with young people before becoming mayor. The street dances became so popular that the city council asked the Youth Council to promote them for only the 72 hours before they happened.

Yes, Laguna had its own musical madness and danced to it the same decade as Woodstock.

Roger Carter, Laguna Beach

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