Concert to mark 50th anniversary of Woodstock music festival

The Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts, which owns the 15ha field that was the venue of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has announced three days of celebration of the music bash.
The Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts, which owns the 15ha field that was the venue of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has announced three days of celebration of the music bash.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • It is rolling good times again. Fifty years after the Woodstock music festival became one of the watersheds of hippie counter-culture, an anniversary event will take place in August on the same field north of New York City.

The Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts has announced a three-day occasion of "music, culture and community" that will celebrate "the golden anniversary at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival".

The non-profit group, which now owns the 15ha field that was the venue of the 1969 musical bash, said in a Facebook posting that the Aug 16 to 18 festival will be a "pan-generational event".

It will feature live performances from prominent and emerging artists across multiple genres and decades, as well as talks from leading futurists and tech experts.

The festival is a joint venture with concert promoter Live Nation. Further details, including ticket sales and names of performers, will be announced later.

The August 1969 festival, billed as "three days of peace and music", is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in music history and 1960s counter-culture.

Over three, sometimes-rainy days, more than 30 acts - including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Band and Grateful Dead - performed around the clock to a 400,000-strong audience, most of whom watched for free and camped on-site in the mud.

The happenings were documented in the 1970 film Woodstock, which won an Oscar.

Although it was known as Woodstock, the event actually took place in Bethel, about 110km south of the village of Woodstock in upstate New York. Bethel is 144km north of New York City.

"Fifty years ago, people gathered peacefully on our site inspired to change the world through music," Ms Darlene Fedun, chief executive of the Bethel Woods Centre, said in a statement announcing the 50th-anniversary celebration.

"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," she added.

The upcoming event is not affiliated with Mr Michael Lang, a promoter of the 1969 festival, who has also spoken of plans to organise a 50th-anniversary bash, but has yet to make any announcement.

Woodstock anniversary festivals were also held in 1994, 1998 and 1999.

Many of the 1969 Woodstock artists are now dead. Surviving musicians who are still performing into their 70s include Joan Baez, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, and David Crosby, Neil Young, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'Concert to mark 50th anniversary of Woodstock music festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe