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Woodstock Festival site given national recognition

The three days of peace and music were a "pivotal moment" in US history, says Andrew Cuomo, as Bethel Woods is placed on the national register

By Jon Chapple on 07 Jun 2017

Woodstock Festival 1969

Music fans at Woodstock 1969

image © Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair, has been added to the US national register of historic places, recognising its status as a “priceless New York landmark”, the state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced yesterday.

“Woodstock was a pivotal moment in both New York and American history, bringing together the unique art and music in an event that changed this nation’s cultural and political landscape,” Cuomo says. “This prestigious recognition will help preserve a priceless New York landmark for current and future generations of New Yorkers.”

More than 400,000 people attended Woodstock, billed as an ‘aquarian exposition’ of ‘three days of peace and music’, in August 1969. Among the 32 performers were Jefferson Airplane, The Band, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Incredible String Band, Grateful Dead, Santana and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Co-promoter Michael Lang has suggested the festival will return in 2019, following earlier anniversary events in 1994 and 1999.

“Being placed on the national register … ensures these hallowed grounds are preserved for generations to come”

Funded by a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation and several private donors, Bethel Woods Center is currently undertaking a preservation project at the site, restoring original footpaths and hand-painted festival signs, preserving trees that stood at the time of the festival and marking the points where the stage and other festival structures were.

Its CEO, Darlene Fedun, says: “We are thrilled to be officially placed on the national register. We take our role as stewards of the land very seriously, and have done so since the beginning. We understand how important the festival was to American history and Sullivan County, and we use that as inspiration for all that we do.

“Our programming, whether it be in the museum, in our education initiatives, on our grounds or on our main stage, embodies the spirit of the ’60s and Woodstock festival. Being placed on the national register will only further our efforts and ensure that these hallowed grounds are preserved for generations to come and enjoy.”


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