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:
- Thursday 15 August: A screening of Woodstock: the Director’s Cut on the festival field
- Friday 16 August: Ringo Starr and His All Star Band perform on the Pavilion stage, supported by Woodstock alumni Arlo Guthrie and Edgar Winter
- Saturday 17 August: Santana, with special guests the Doobie Brothers
- Sunday 18 August: TBC
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.
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.
Rival Woodstock anniversary events planned for 2019
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA), the events venue located on the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has finalised plans for a 50th-anniversary event this August, in partnership with Live Nation and marketing agency Invnt.
Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, set for 16 to 18 August 2019, will celebrate the legendary festival’s golden anniversary with “live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades”, as well as “TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts”, according to a launch announcement.
“We are thrilled to partner with Live Nation and Invnt to produce Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival,” says Darlene Fedun, CEO of BWCA. “Fifty years ago, people gathered peacefully on our site inspired to change the world through music.
“As the stewards of this historic site, we remain committed to preserving this rich history and spirit, and to educating and inspiring new generations to contribute positively to the world through music, culture and community.”
“As the stewards of this historic site, we remain committed to preserving this rich history and spirit”
While the Bethel Woods festival will be the only anniversary event to take place in Bethel, New York, on the site of the original Woodstock Music and Art Fair, promoter Michael Lang – who organised the original ‘three days of peace and music’ in 1969 with John P. Roberts, Joel Rosenman and Artie Kornfeld, and who runs Woodstock Ventures, the owner of the Woodstock trademark – is still pushing ahead with plans for his own ‘official’ Woodstock 50 festival, first announced way back in early 2016.
“While the original site in Bethel remains close to our hearts, it no longer has the capacity to hold a real Woodstock festival,” Lang says in a statement.
He adds, however, that he’s “delighted that Bethel Woods is doing events in the coming year to celebrate what we brought to life in 1969”.
More details about both Woodstock anniversary events are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.