Bob Hieronimus didn’t make it to Woodstock, but his VW bus sure did. And they’re both heading back for this week’s 50th anniversary celebration.
OK, technically, that’s not true. The colorful and gloriously symbolic bus that Hieronimus painted and sent off to Woodstock 50 years ago is long gone; an extensive search over the past couple years uncovered nary a trace of the 1963 VW that came to be known as the Light bus. But a re-created bus, identical in just about every detail, will be heading back to upstate New York beginning Aug. 12.
Hieronimus, co-host of 21st Century Radio Live on WCBM-AM (680) and an artist and muralist here in his native Baltimore going back even further than the original Woodstock, decorated the bus for his friend, Bob Grimm, who was heading to the festival with his band, Light. Hieronimus himself skipped the festival, at least in part because he had other projects to finish, including an expansive “The Apocalypse” mural in Johns Hopkins University’s Levering Hall. But Grimm and band member Trudy Morgal not only made it to the festival, they had their photo snapped atop the bus by an AP photographer. That picture has been reproduced scores of times, making it one of the most remembered images from the fabled “3 Days of Peace & Music.”
“It’s a dream come true," says Hieronimus, relieved that the project of bringing the bus back to life is nearly complete. “It’s really great to know that we accomplished something like this.”
On Monday, Hieronimus and the re-created Light bus will be at the American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, for a free launch party beginning at 10 a.m. From there, it’s off to the Golden Anniversary Weekend, Aug. 15-18, at the original festival site in Bethel, New York, which now houses the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
Also on Monday, “The Woodstock Bus,” a documentary chronicling both the unsuccessful search for the original Light bus and the painstaking re-creation, becomes available on demand via CuriosityStream.