Original Woodstock Site Restricted on Anniversary Weekend

The site of the original Woodstock festival, which is now Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, was deemed too small for the ill-fated 50th anniversary festival, which went down in flames last month after many weeks of confusion and many millions of dollars spent.

But now, with original Woodstock veterans Santana and John Fogerty as well as Ringo Starr scheduled to perform at the venue this on this coming weekend — Aug. 16-19, the exact dates of the 1969 festival — it’s the closest one can realistically get to an anniversary. Yet the local authorities, still mindful of the epic traffic jams that surrounded the original event, are hoping people will get the vibes some other weekend.

Only ticketholders will be allowed onto the Bethel Woods grounds Thursday through Sunday, and they must present a travel pass that was issued with the tickets — and there will be a very un-Woodstock-like element: checkpoints.

State troopers will be posted on the roads leading to the venue, and the town is prohibiting vehicles on or near the venue from parking on roadways or shoulders, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. Cars found parking will be towed.

“We’re trying to encourage people that are not interested in the concert-side of things, and just want to come and sort of breathe the air and feel the vibes … to come on other weekends,” Bethel Woods CEO Darlene Fedun told the Associated Press.

Regardless, local officials expect up to 100,000 visitors from Thursday through Sunday.

The site, which is still surrounded by rolling countryside and farmland — although a road on it has been renamed“Yasgur Road, after Max Yasgur, the owner of the original grounds, has been a tourist attraction for many years: Stores and open-air markets along Route 17B are filled with tie-dyed and psychedelic items, although the Bethel Woods venue and nearby museum and surrounding monuments are as clean as most historic areas.

“When they first built it, I had mixed feelings about it,” Bill Bokesz, 66, a regular visitor, told the AP last week. “But there’s not condos here. It’s still here. They preserved the field — they did a really good job.”

The weekend’s festivities will kick off on Thursday, when original Woodstock performer Arlo Guthrie (of “Alice’s Restaurant” fame) will perform before an outdoor screening of the legendary 1970 Woodstock documentary on the festival field.

However, access will be tightly limited: There will be a free shuttle bus for those not allowed to bring cars to the monument, but visits will be limited to 30 minutes, “In order to give everyone a chance to make this pilgrimage,” an informational flyer reads.

“This time,” Town of Bethel supervisor Dan Sturm told reporters this week, “we’re going to get it right.”




Popular on Variety

More Music

  • John Janick Interscope Geffen

    And the New Interscope Records Publicity Chief Is...

    Variety has confirmed one of the worst kept secrets in the music business: Cara Donatto is joining Interscope Geffen A&M (IGA) as its new head of publicity. She arrives at the Universal Music Group label from Atlantic Records, where she has spent nearly two decades of her career guiding public relations strategy for such artists [...]

  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler'Woke Up This Morning: The

    ‘Sopranos’ Cast Members to Present at VMAs in New Jersey

    The VMAs will reunite “Sopranos” castmates for the big awards show happening Monday night in Newark, New Jersey — right next door to America’s favorite crime family.  Drea De Matteo (who played the mobster girlfriend-turned F.B.I. informant Adriana La Cerva), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who played Tony Soprano’s precocious daughter Meadow Soprano) and Vincent Pastore (who played [...]

  • Mary J. Blige

    Mary J. Blige to Produce Drug Queenpin Drama in Development at USA Network

    Mary J. Blige is attached to executive produce a drama series in development at USA Network, Variety has learned. The project is titled “Philly Reign.” Inspired by the life of Thelma Wright. From suburban housewife to drug queenpin in under five years, the death of Wright’s husband left her two choices: let her family starve or [...]

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Said to Prep Cheaper HomePod for 2020

    Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker in 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The company is also working on a new version of its AirPod headphones for next year, according to Bloomberg. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The new version of the HomePod is said [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content