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Bob Grimm's Woodstock Experience
"Light" was my Baltimore rock group in the 60's. We were the proverbial big fish in a not-so-little pond; stars on the smallest of scales! In those days we had a full time house gig at the "Mardi Gras" on Harford Road and became well known for our original music and long, self indulgent jams. We were pleased to take off for a week in August of 1969 to attend the Woodstock Rock Festival.

Our painted VW bus was a truly inspired work of mystical and esoteric symbols, and we believed it probably had an esteemed destiny in the company of our generation's musical heroes. The artist, Bob Hieronimus, had planned to be at Woodstock but was ultimately commanded by a busy schedule not to attend. The "Light Bus" blazed trails across the art and music scene in those days, and later that year was pictured in the Rolling Stone Magazine, becoming one of the hippie icons of the age.

Rick (drummer) & Trudy (vocalist) at Woodstock 1969.
An original color print of the nationally circulated news photo from Woodstock, with autographs of the well-known Baltimore musicians pictures, and the Baltimore creator of the VW bus.
Our drive from Baltimore took us first to the New Jersey shore where we spent a day or so; all a bit vague, on reflection. By the time we'd proceeded up the New Jersey Turnpike and approached White Lake and the Festival area, we were sorry we hadn't forgone the shore stop! It was the day before the first performances and we discovered that we might not be able to get in! Approaching the access road, a policeman said, "You can't drive in, you'll have to walk!" Thinking quickly I said, "We're taking this bus to the art exhibit." He paused momentarily and said, "OK, go ahead."

We drove the Light Bus up the tree lined dirt road to the festival grounds and into our little bit of Woodstock history. On the drive up we were surrounded by people walking up the road; at one point, two guys jumped on the rear bumper. I slammed on the breaks, leapt from the driver's seat and, in a manner not to be confused with the love generation, told them to get the hell off my bus! We proceeded on to the festival grounds and found a spot to park near the portable toilets on the hill to the left of the stage ("stage right"); this was to be our home for the next three days.

There was much we didn't do at Woodstock; we didn't swim naked; we didn't eat the purple acid (we had our own stash of hallucinogens); we didn't indulge in the various tribal rituals that seemed to permeate the place. We came for the music!

The historical significance of the event at the time seemed to be the birth of a new spirit. We were soon caught up in the energy; a surprisingly peaceful anarchy! My little band had tickets; many did not! No one ever asked us for tickets. We didn't realize that it was probably the last time we freaky bunch would experience freedom on such a scale. With me was our drummer, Rick Peters, our singer, Trudy Cooper and my girlfriend at the time, Lynn. One of the things I learned at Woodstock was that Lynn and I were not well matched. She was definitely not a hippie; I probably was!

The first day offered us a great view of the stage from the front window of the VW and from its roof where a Rolling Stone photographer ultimately found Ricky and Trudy. The ultimate deluge found us huddled inside, thankful to have the refuge. We ventured frequently into the crowd toward the stage, relative to the performances of our favorite groups. We soon became aware that we had become a city of America's latest social phenomena: long-haired, pot smoking hippies believing that we could change the world! Well, we did! But we needed our naivety and youth to be brave enough to become the leaders of the twenty first century!

Bob stitting atop the bus at Woodstock Bob stitting atop the bus at Woodstock

The MUSIC is what captured us the most! Our group signed with CBS that year but later broke up. Our producer, Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons, offered me a job as a guitarist in his back-up band, and I proceeded to travel the world with them. A short time later, I took Tommy Devito's place and became one of the Four Seasons (my fifteen minutes of fame!) I often reflect on my group "Light" and lament a career unfinished. Woodstock deepened my obsession with the music business.

The festival experience was a piece of history I was glad to experience. The one regret I have is the day of our departure: Jimi Hendrix was on stage but, weary of the rain, mud, and masses of garbage, we decided to leave. Unaware of a fatal future for our favorite guitarist, as we drove from the field, I said to my passengers, "Hell, I can see him any time!"

Peace from an old hippie!
Bob Grimm

WJZ interview with Bob, Trudy and Bob Heironimus, about their trip to Woodstock.

NPR Radio Interview about the Bus and the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock.

"Light Bus". See http://www.21stcenturyradio.com/woodstockbus.htm#PHO. Visit my old friend Dr. Bob Hieronimus, a fellow mystic and painter of the "Light Bus".

The other side of the bus

TV interview

WYPR Radio interview

Bob with the "Light Bus" and the artist's "bug".

Woodstock Bus Model Model