Arthur Lawrence "Artie" Kornfeld (born 9 September 1942, Brooklyn, New York) is an American musician, record producer and music executive. He is best known as the music promoter for the Woodstock Festival held in 1969.
Kornfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942. He is the son of a New York City policeman and his wife (Irving & Shirley). Brought up in the early 50s in Levittown, New York, Kornfeld's family constantly moved and he attended six different schools.
Kornfeld got his first guitar in 1956 and later performed with Dion and the Belmonts and The Skyliners singing backup. Kornfeld would further his music career by attending Adelphi College and American University where he met Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas.
Kornfeld became the vice president of Capitol Records in his early 20s, making him the youngest to hold the position. By 1966, Kornfeld had written over 75 Billboard charted songs and participated in over 150 albums. He was introduced to Mike Lang by Abbey Rader. Lang was to serve as the manager for Abbey Rader's band at the time, The Train. In 1969, Kornfeld left Capitol records to co-create The Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, with Mike Lang.
The Changin' Times
Kornfeld along with Steve Duboff teamed as the Pop/Folk group the Changin' Times. They wrote and recorded "The Pied Piper" in 1965, a song that was a hit for Crispian St. Peters and were on tour with Sonny and Cher during the 1965 "I Got You Babe" tour. Kornfeld was also the co-writer of "Dead Man's Curve" by Jan and Dean and was the co-writer and producer of the 1967 hit by the Cowsills "The Rain, The Park & Other Things".
Kornfeld and Michael Lang became best friends in 1968 and Lang eventually moved in with Artie and his wife Linda. Kornfeld, Lang, Joel Rosenman, and John P. Roberts through Woodstock Ventures made the 1969 music festival a possibility.
Kornfeld played a big role in helping save the Woodstock site from being built upon when the Max Yasgur farm was sold. Kornfeld was also responsible for putting the Academy Award winning Warner Bros. documentary together. Much of the historical documentation of Woodstock is supplied by the acts featured in the film and it was Kornfeld who had to convince all of them to appear. He is in the movie frequently because backstage he was solely in charge of getting the performers to sign what were basically blank contracts prior to going on stage. He also hired the award winning director Michael Wadleigh to shoot the film.
Kornfeld has spent 40 years speaking to schools, organizations, and universities on the true meaning behind Woodstock. He has done over 5,000 radio interviews and hosts his own show, "The Spirit Show with Artie Kornfeld" on artistfirst.com
- The Pied Piper of Woodstock (Paperback), 196 pages; Publisher: Spirit of the Woodstock Nation, LLC (October 19, 2009); ISBN 978-0-615-32599-6
Notes and references
- Barbara Maranzani (2013 [last update]). "Remembering Richie Havens: Ten Things You May Not Know About Woodstock — History in the Headlines". history.com. Retrieved May 8, 2013.