In the first step of a long-range plan to turn the site of the famed 1969 Woodstock Festival concert into a performing arts and entertainment complex, promoters have launched “A Day in the Garden,” a two-day concert bill featuring four acts performing each day.
The concerts — which will boast perfs by Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Pete Townshend and Joni Mitchell, among others — are being staged to raise the profile of the town of Bethel, N.Y., which hopes to attract visitors to the region and remind them of the town’s unique role in history. It was at Max Yasgur’s Bethel farm, and not the nearby town of Woodstock, that the famous festival unfolded in 1969.
“As we envisioned when this site was acquired, the magic that was created at the Woodstock concert is stirring once again,” said Alan Gerry of GF Entertainment, one of the show’s producers and whose company is working with the Bethel Development Corp. to lure visitors to the area. “This marks the renaissance for this historic site.”
In addition to the more than six hours of perfs both days, the event will be enhanced by a memorabilia display, seminars on aspects of the ’60s and specialty food kiosks.
“All of us associated with the festival are thrilled to be hosting this re-dedication of the most famous music site in the world,” said Danny Socolof, exec producer of “A Day in the Garden” and principal in Megaworks.
Local musicians will also have a presence and be given an opportunity to perform before an audience.
To encourage a family experience, children under 12 accompanied by an adult can attend free, and parking and access will be simplified.
Attendance for the two days of music, Aug. 14-15 (each day will be ticketed separately), will be limited to 30,000 people in order to provide a comfortable atmosphere, according to event organizers.
Of the four acts initially announced, only Townshend performed at the ’69 Woodstock fest, with his band the Who. Mitchell wrote the most famous song about the event, but didn’t attend.
A nearby site was used for Woodstock ’94 — The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, a cross-generational event that boasted perfs from acts of the era of the original Woodstock, as well as up-and-coming artists from the alternative rock scene. More than 250,000 people attended the three-day event.