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Woodstock festivities kick off at Bethel Woods

Despite the well-publicised difficulties and eventual cancellation of the official Woodstock 50 anniversary event, the 1969 festival will receive its half-century commemoration this weekend, in the form of a four-day series of events at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA).

The events, set on the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival at Bethel Woods, kicked off yesterday (15 August), with Arlo Guthrie taking once again to the Woodstock stage for a free concert.

Originally announcing a full-scale anniversary festival – to have been produced by Live Nation and creative agency Invnt – BWCA later scaled back plans to create the multi-day music and arts programme.

The Bethel Woods site is not the only remnant from the 1969 festival. Woodstock veterans Carlos Santana and John Fogerty are performing over the four days, along with Ringo Starr.

The “pan-generational cultural event” will also feature TED-style talks and “special exhibits”.

“On this day in 1969, a 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains became the site of one of the most defining music events in rock and roll history”

“On this day in 1969, a 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains became the site of one of the most defining music events in rock and roll history,” reads a post on the Bethel Woods Twitter page.

It is expected that up to 100,000 visitors will access the area over the four days. Only ticketholders will be permitted on site and all attendees must present a travel pass on entry to avoid overcrowding.

“We’re trying to encourage people that are not interested in the concert-side of things, and just want to come and sort of breathe the air and feel the vibes… to come on other weekends,” Bethel Woods chief executive Darlene Fedun told the Associated Press.

Michael Lang, the organiser of the original ‘three days of peace and music’, had deemed the Bethel Wood site’s capacity too small for his eventually ill-fated anniversary event. Lang pulled the plug on his Woodstock 50 event with just two weeks to go, after the festival lost its primary financier, two production partners, two venues and its whole line-up.

Around 400,000 people attended the 1969 festival. A recent report revealed that almost 50% of festivalgoers from the so-called ‘Woodstock Generation’ now suffer from hearing loss, with 70% saying they long to experience music as they did in the past.

 


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Woodstock 50 anniversary event announces line-up

Woodstock 50 Music and Arts Fair has announced the official line-up for it three-day 50th anniversary today, with headline performance from the Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Dead and Company and Jay-Z.

More than 80 acts have been confirmed for the event, taking place from 16 to 18 August in Watkins Glen, New York.

Legacy acts, in addition to the original Woodstock 1969 icons Santana and Dead and Company, include Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, David Crosby and Friends, John Fogerty, Canned Heat, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian and Melanie.

The Killers, Miley Cyrus and Santana head up the opening night, with Chance the Rapper and the Black Keys headlining on Saturday and Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons and Halsey closing the event on the Sunday night.

Other performances across the three-day event come from the Lumineers, Bishop Briggs, Greta van Fleet, Leon Bridges and Janelle Monáe.

“We’ve lined up artists who won’t just entertain but will remind the world that music has the power to bring people together, to heal, to move us to action and to tell the stories of a generation,” says Michael Lang, co-founder and producer of the 1969 and 2019 Woodstock festivals.

“Our hope is that today, just as in 1969, music will be the constant that can inspire positive change”

“Our hope is that today, just as in 1969, music will be the constant that can inspire positive change,” adds Lang.

Woodstock 50 has also confirmed some of its nonprofit cause partners, including environmental charity Conservation International, student-led anti-gun group March for our Lives and Chicago-based SocialWorks, which empowers youth through the arts, education and civic engagement.

In addition, Lang has announced that the festival will include curated neighbourhoods that celebrate unique experiences across all arts forms – including emerging talent, specialty food offerings, workshops and craft – as well as a dedicated “Kidstock” area.

A rival, Live Nation-backed festival, set to take place on the original Woodstock site in Bethel Woods over the same weekend is no longer going ahead in the same capacity. The Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts Woodstock anniversary event will take place as a scaled-back “Anniversary Week”, forming part of a six-month long Season of Song and Celebration.

Tickets for Woodstock 50 go on sale on Earth Day, April 22. Fans can subscribe to receive more information here.

 


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Santana, Ringo Starr to play Bethel Woods’ Woodstock anniversary

Santana, Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band, the Doobie Brothers and the Edgar Winter Group have been announced as performers for Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA)’s Woodstock anniversary celebrations this August.

BWCA, the site of 1969’s Woodstock Music and Art Fair, last month announced plans for a music festival to celebrate Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, going head to head with the official Woodstock 50 event organised by original promoter Michael Lang.

That idea now appears to have been dropped, with Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival – to have been produced by Live Nation and creative agency Invnt and featured “live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades” – having morphed into a scaled-back ‘Anniversary Week’ forming part of a six month-long Season of Song and Celebration that kicks off in March.

“We are humbled by the interest in the anniversary year and we realised it was greater than we’d ever dreamed,” comments Darlene Fedun, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ CEO. “We recognise the importance of this place to so many, and our mission of preservation and interpretation of the 1960s is central to A Season of Song and Celebration, as it provides our guests the opportunity to reflect, to learn and to celebrate the legacy of what occurred here.”

“We are humbled by the interest in the anniversary year”

A Season of Song and Celebration begins on 30 March, when the BWCA museum – which will house a Woodstock exhibition, We Are Golden – Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future – and festival field open for the 2019 season.

Following a summer concert season featuring performances by Heart, Sheryl Crow, Zac Brown Band and Chris Stapleton, as well as the Mountain Jam festival with Willie Nelson, 15–18 August’s Anniversary Week comprises:

No line-up has yet been announced for Woodstock 50, which takes place on the same weekend (16 to 18 August), some 150 miles away, in Watkins Glen, New York.

 


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Official Woodstock 50 anniversary event confirmed

Woodstock 1969’s co-producer and co-founder Michael Lang has announced the comeback of Woodstock Music & Arts Fair to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic festival. Billed as the only authorised commemoration event, Woodstock 50 will take place from 16 to 18 August 2019 in Watkins Glen, upstate New York.

“It’s time to put the speculation to rest and officially announce that Woodstock 50 is happening,” says Lang.

Woodstock 50 will showcase more than 60 artists across three main stages. Whilst promising mainly contemporary talent, attendees should also expect legacy acts and tribute performances to Woodstock’s most iconic moments.

The festival stays true to Woodstock’s original mission, combining music with social conscience. Nonprofit and cause-driven organisations will present screenings and expert panels to promote sustainability and advocacy. Alternative art forms such as comedy, spoken word and film accompany live music in making Woodstock 50 a varied cultural event.

“It’s time to put the speculation to rest and officially announce that Woodstock 50 is happening”

Lang – who runs Woodstock Ventures, the owner of the Woodstock trademark – made the announcement following the finalisation of plans for a rival Woodstock anniversary event last week. Live Nation-backed Bethel Woods Festival is due to take place over the same weekend on the original festival site in Bethel, New York.

The Woodstock Ventures owner states that he is “delighted” that Bethel Woods continues to hold events celebrating the original 1969 festival.

“The original site in Bethel is wonderful, but much too small for what we’re envisioning,” says Lang. “Watkins Glen International gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock.”

A limited number of tickets for Woodstock 50 go on sale for students aged 18–25 at the end of January. Further details regarding line-up and other on-sale information will be announced in the coming weeks.

 


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Woodstock Festival site given national recognition

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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