NEPA Scene Staff

Original Woodstock site celebrates 50th anniversary with Ringo Starr, Santana, John Fogerty, and more Aug. 15-18

Original Woodstock site celebrates 50th anniversary with Ringo Starr, Santana, John Fogerty, and more Aug. 15-18
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From a press release:

While headlines declare that the much-publicized Woodstock 50 at Watkins Glen has been canceled after delays and major investors pulling out, a separate, unaffiliated event is moving forward with headliners Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band, Santana with The Doobie Brothers, and John Fogerty at the historic site of the original 1969 Woodstock music festival on Thursday, Aug. 15 through Sunday, Aug. 18.

Back in February, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a nonprofit cultural arts organization in Bethel, New York, announced “A Season of Song and Celebration” to honor Woodstock’s golden anniversary and welcome visitors “back to the garden” throughout the year with a special museum exhibit, the opening of the restored Bindy Bazaar trails, the summer concert season, and the anniversary week in August that, while not as big as the massive pop, rock, and rap lineup Woodstock 50 was promising, features performances much closer to the roots of the first Woodstock and two acts that were also booked at Woodstock 50 – Santana and Fogerty.

The weekend kicks off early with an outdoor screening of the director’s cut of the Academy Award-winning Warner Bros. documentary “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music” on Thursday, Aug. 15 on the actual festival field where it was filmed a half-century ago. Woodstock alum Arlo Guthrie will perform prior to the screening, 50 years to the day he appeared at the festival, but this free community event, which required pre-ordered tickets, has reached capacity and is now sold out.

On Friday, Aug. 16, Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band will take the Pavilion Stage as well as Edgar Winter with the Edgar Winter Band, returning to Bethel for the first time since performing at the festival with his brother, Johnny Winter. Jazz rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears will open the show.

“My dream has always been, and still is, to play great music with great musicians – and I’ve been blessed to have so many incredible ones in my All Starr Bands,” Ringo reflected. “We can’t wait to get out there and share the joy with you – every show is always such a wonderful peace and love fest between us and our audiences.”

On Saturday, Aug. 17, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Woodstock legend Carlos Santana returns to the Bethel Woods Pavilion Stage exactly 50 years after his groundbreaking Saturday afternoon festival performance. Santana will be joined by special guests The Doobie Brothers as part of the Supernatural Now Tour, commemorating two of the most important milestones in the iconic guitarist’s career – the 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking, multiple Grammy Award-winning album “Supernatural” and the 50th anniversary of his momentous performance at Woodstock.

Reflecting on the significance of both anniversaries occurring in the same year, Santana said, “Both were monumental moments in my life. Woodstock and ‘Supernatural’ took me to places I never dreamed were possible. I embraced those incredible moments in my life with all my heart. Both were supreme lessons in maintaining focus, heart, and integrity in every step every day and to strive to better oneself with a high standard on and off the stage. I cannot think of these two moments without thinking about Mr. Bill Graham and Mr. Clive Davis. They are two of many angels in my life that helped shape my career.”

Closing out the anniversary weekend on Sunday, Aug. 18, John Fogerty will play a show mirrored after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s historic set at Woodstock exactly 50 years later. Inspired by the festival anniversary and his iconic hit parade with Creedence Clearwater Revival, “My 50 Year Trip” recreates the sounds and spirit of 1969 with a set mirrored after his original Woodstock set with CCR, giving fans the entire Woodstock experience as if it was Aug. 16, 1969.

Located in the Sullivan Catskills 90 miles northwest of New York City at the National Register Historic Site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, Bethel Woods’ lush 800-acre campus (200 Hurd Rd., Bethel, NY) includes an internationally ranked 15,000 capacity pavilion amphitheater, an intimate 440-seat indoor event gallery, an award-winning museum, and a conservatory for creative and educational programs rooted in the arts and heritage of its historic site.

“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.”

Concert attendees are invited to come early to celebrate the anniversary, with festivities included with their ticket purchase. Beginning at 3 p.m. on the upper campus prior to each concert, guests will enjoy live music, food trucks, craft vendors, art making, games, a variety of food and beverage options, nonprofit community booths, and artists and filmmakers on site to discuss and highlight their work.

On Saturday, the Terrace Stage will offer a fun-filled family day for museum ticket holders, including art making and family-friendly musical performances. Additionally, the museum will offer extended hours all week from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., with regularly scheduled docent tours of the Museum, Bindy Bazaar trails, and festival field. Advance tickets are strongly encouraged due to the high level of interest expected during anniversary week and can be purchased online at for a discounted rate.

A limited number of 2019 Bethel Woods season lawn passes are still available, fully transferable, and guarantee a place on the lawn for every pavilion concert.

Bethel Woods will also open the first phase of the Bindy Bazaar trails with a free community event this Saturday, May 4 as part of “A Season of Song and Celebration.”

In 1969, the Bindy Bazaar was a marketplace and trail system that acted as the heart of the Woodstock festival. It consisted of approximately 20 booths where vendors sold crafts and clothing and connected two major areas of festival grounds. In 2014, as stewards of the historic site, Bethel Woods commissioned a report to recommend ways in which to better preserve and interpret the site for guests. Landscape historians and architects produced an enlightening and detailed cultural landscape report that describes the natural and human-made features of the landscape, which remain remarkably similar to its historic condition. The report makes 21 concrete recommendations for how the site can be better preserved, interpreted, and made more authentic. One such faction was developing the trails within the Bindy Bazaar woods.

Guests will now be able to explore the area and see evidence that details the ways in which the woods were used during the festival.

“The restoration of the Bindy Bazaar Trails celebrates our historic location and further illustrates the lasting impact the 1960s has on the modern era,” Fedun said. “It is our hope that families will visit Bethel Woods to engage with nature and cultivate creative personal experiences.”

During the free community event from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 4, there will be curator-led walks for a detailed interpretation of the woods. Local vendors, including Creekside Art Company, BriarWood Farms, and Awareness Soaps & Things will be on-site to honor the spirit of the original marketplace and provide an opportunity to shop local. Additionally, Bethel Woods teaching artists will lead outdoor art activities inspired by the grounds’ rich history. These projects are free with museum admission or with a suggested $10 donation otherwise.

Future plans include the restoration of the Woodstock stage area and the creation of a scenic interpretative outlook at the top of the field.