Bethel Woods Is Out of the Woodstock Anniversary Fest Biz

Ringo Starr
Ringo Starr is headed to Bethel Woods.

Photograph by Stanley A. Johnson

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts – located on the site of the original 1969 Woodstock Festival – has scrapped its plans for a big 50th anniversary festival this August.

Earlier this year, plans were announced for the Bethel Woods Music and Cultural Festival, described as “a three-day festival (Friday-Sunday, August 16-18) of music, culture and community celebrating the golden anniversary at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival… This pan-generational cultural event will feature live music, TED-style talks and special exhibits.”

But those plans went up in smoke after co-producer INVNT pulled out of the fest on Monday. Now the big anniversary fest has been cancelled in favor of the months-long “Season of Song & Celebration.” “We are humbled by the interest in the anniversary year, and we realized it was greater than we’d ever dreamed,” explained Darlene Fedun, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ Chief Executive Officer. “We recognize 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.”

Instead of the originally planned big fest on the 50th anniversary weekend, Bethel Woods will host the following events:

Thursday, August 15: A screening of Michael Wadleigh’s Academy Award-winning documentary, “Woodstock: the Director’s Cut,” will be held on the historic festival field, and fans will have the opportunity to watch the film on the field where it was filmed a half-century ago.

Friday, August 16: Ringo Starr & his All Star Band will take the Pavilion Stage, along with Arlo Guthrie (who performed at the ’69 fest) and the Edgar Winter Band (featuring Edgar Winter, who performed at the ’69 fest with his brothers Johnny Winter).

Saturday, August 17: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and ’69 Woodstock alum Carlos Santana and his band with special guests the Doobie Brothers.

Sunday, August 18: To be announced

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HIGH MUD COMEDY FEST @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, March 29 & 30
TASTE OF COUNTRY MUSIC FESTIVAL @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, June 7-9
MOUNTAIN JAM @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, June 13-16
TAIL WINDS MUSIC FESTIVAL @ Hudson Valley Regional Airport, Wappingers Falls, June 29
FREIHOFER’S SARATOGA JAZZ FESTIVAL @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, June 29 & 30
GREEN RIVER FESTIVAL @ Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, July 12-14
WOODSTOCK 50 @ Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, August 16-18
BETHEL WOODS MUSIC AND CULTURE FESTIVAL @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, August 16-18 (cancelled)

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