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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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Despite lost headliners, Bluesfest welcomes 105k+

Byron Bay Bluesfest this year recorded one of its biggest-ever attendances, with more than 105,000 people passing through its gates from Thursday 13 to Monday 17 April in spite of being down two headliners.

Both Neil Young and Bee Gee Barry Gibb were confirmed for the 28th Bluesfest, but cancelled within weeks of each other last December, with Young apparently deciding “to take 2017 off from touring” and Live Nation calling off Gibb’s planned trek “due to a change in international commitments”.

Despite the setbacks, attendance still matched 2015 levels, and beat 2014’s 104,526 – but fell short of 2011’s Bob Dylan-headlined mega-event.

Promoter Peter Noble OAM comments: “I think everybody that came this year will tell you that this has been one of the great Bluesfests, and in my opinion certainly within our top three.”

“I think everybody that came this year will tell you that this has been one of the great Bluesfests”

Headliners were Patti Smith (performing Horses), the Zac Brown Band, Jimmy Buffett, Santana and Nas, with other performers including The Doobie Brothers, Madness, The Lumineers and an admirably strong contingent of female talent, such as Smith, Mary J. Blige, Laura Mvula, Bonnie Raitt, Courtney Barnett, Corinne Bailey Ray, Nikki Hill and Rickie Lee Jones.

“Backstage is like a rock’n’roll fantasy camp,” said Hill, “and, especially, seeing such a female presence around has been incredible.”

Bluefest will return to Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, New South Wales, for its 29th outing on 29 March–2 April 2018.


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Doobies, Dan for Classic East and Classic West

New line-up details have emerged for Classic East and Classic West, the heritage-heavy answer to AEG’s Desert Trip reportedly planned by Live Nation, Oak View Group, Azoff MSG Entertainment and Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

According to Billboard, Steely Dan, The Doobie Brothers, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire will also play two nights in New York and Los Ageneles this July, joining previously announced headliners Fleetwood Mac and Eagles.

Classic West will take place at Dodger Stadium (56,000-cap.) in LA on 15 and 16 July, with Classic East at Citi Field (41,922-cap.) following two weeks later, on 29 and 30 July.

The inaugural Desert Trip, held on the Coachella site in Indio, California (and dubbed ‘Oldchella’), was a huge success for AEG’s Goldenvoice, with its line-up featuring a sextet of boomer greats – The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who – delivering record-breaking revenue of US$150m+ for the promoter and contributing to an estimated $250m economic impact on the surrounding area.


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