The town of Bethel, New York, is planning a golden anniversary celebration of the Woodstock festival. The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announced the gathering on Thursday (Dec. 27), revealing that the three-day event (Aug. 16-18), “Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival: Celebrating the golden anniversary at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival,” will feature as-yet-unnamed musical performers, as well as TED-style talks.
The event will be put on by Live Nation Concerts and INVNT, with a line-up and ticketing information available soon, according to the Center’s website. “This pan-generational music, culture, and community event will be held at BWCA just 90 minutes from New York City. These three days of memorable experiences will include live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades, and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts,” read the announcement. “Festival goers will also be able to visit the Museum at Bethel Woods, which tells the story of the 1960s through immersive media, interactive engagements, and artifacts from the 1969 festival, as well as experience the special 2019 exhibit We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for an Aquarian Future.”
Promoters promise that the festival will utilize the Arts Center’s “state-of-the-art venues and facilities,” with entertainment villages and a series of “bespoke performance areas” to be specially created for the event. “We are thrilled to partner with Live Nation and INVNT to produce Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival,” Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods, said in the statement. “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.”
The original Woodstock took place on a diary farm in the Catskill Mountains north of New York city on Aug. 15-18, 1969, quickly growing from a ticketed event to a massive free-for-all that drew more than 400,000 to a muddy 600-acre diary farm for one of the most iconic rock events of all time, featuring sets from Joan Baez, Santana, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, The Who, The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Jimi Hendrix.
A 25th anniversary concert was held in Saugerties, New York, in 1994 with performances from Sheryl Crow, Blues Traveler, Collective Soul, Deee-Lite, Aphex Twin, Joe Cocker, Cypress Hill, CSN, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith and Bob Dylan. Five years later, the Woodstock ’99 concert took place in Rome, New York, drawing 400,000 people to a former Air Force base for a chaotic three-day gatheirng marred by excessively hot weather fan rioting and looting and numerous reports of sexual assault. A smaller event was held on the site of the original Woodstock in 2009, with sets from a number of the original show’s performers, including Country Joe McDonald, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Canned Heat, Jefferson Starship, Mounatin and the Levon Helm Band.
Officials in Sullivan County recently said they plan to install 36 fiberglass dove statues to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary in a nod to the original event’s iconic logo. Local artists will be commissioned to pain the doves in colors reminiscent of the 1960s. One of the original Woodstock promoter, Michael Lang, that he has “definite plans” to put on his own 50th anniversary celebration, though it won’t be on the site of the original; no other information was available on Lang’s event at press time.