Archive for Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

42 Years Out: Woodstock Music & Art Fair

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2011 by 30daysout

Yeah, it was 42 years ago this weekend, more or less.

I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road. And I asked him, “Where are you going?” And this he told me:

“Sir, you can park up in the parking lot.” He was one of the volunteers who hang around the green, grassy fields where they held the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, about 42 years ago. We drove up there from New York City on a hot July Monday, and we walked through the nice museum and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts amphitheater. We also strolled through the lush grass where a little more than four decades ago about half a million kids grooved to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and many more.

Not too many people were there on the day we went, and of course it was nowhere near as exciting as the visit we made in 2009. But it’s a nice pilgrimage for people who profess to love the music – it’s a reminder that no matter how many Sugarlands or Jason Aldeans or Lady Gagas parade before us, there will always be somebody plucking a guitar and writing a song. For every one of those clowns there will be a Jakob Dylan, a Justin Townes Earle, a Mumford and Sons and maybe even an older artist finally getting deserved exposure, like Alejandro Escovedo. Like the green grass outside Bethel, New York, you just gotta go looking for it.

Let’s play some tracks they gave us from the 40th anniversary of Woodstock at Bethel Woods, NY, in 2009:

MP3:  “Going Up The Country” by Canned Heat

MP3: “Fish Cheer/Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag” by Country Joe McDonald

MP3: “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain” by Ten Years After

MP3: “Woodstock Boogie” by Canned Heat

MP3: “Summertime” by Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Sophia Ramos)

MP3: “St. Stephen/Turn On Your Lovelight” by the Jefferson Starship (with Cathy Richardson, Linda Imperial and Tom Constanten)

MP3: “Volunteers/With A Little Help From My Friends” by the Jefferson Starship and others

YouTube: Excerpts from “Oh! Woodstock!” a 1970 documentary on NBC-TV

The Woodstock festival grounds today.

Woodstock Update

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on August 11, 2009 by 30daysout

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UPDATE: We’re taking a few days off while we travel to Bethel for the big Woodstock event August 15.  We hope to post a report early Sunday – come back then, or while away the time with some of these reposts.

Nobody is going to be caught short this time around – the 40th anniversary of Woodstock offers plenty of opportunity for promoters and performers to make a few bucks.  Which I guess is only fair, because many of them took a bath in 1969.  Michael Lang, one of the festival’s promoters, has a new book The Road To Woodstock which he’s been promoting.  In one interview, he recalled that the festival wasn’t known only as “Woodstock Music and Art Fair” at first – it was “An Aquarian Exposition.”  Woodstock, New York (about 50 miles to the northeast of where the festival was actually staged), was founded as an art colony in the early 1900s, and today it’s still home to musicians, writers and artists.  The “Aquarian Festival” was supposed to be in the real Woodstock, but they wound up moving it at the last minute to White Lake near Bethel.  You can see more about The Road To Woodstock here.

Lang’s plans for a Woodstock anniversary event in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have been cancelled.  He originally envisioned an “official” Woodstock 40th anniversary in New York City, in September.  But all plans for that have been dropped, because of a lack of investors.

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Although he’s the headliner at the Woodstock 40th anniversary on the original grounds (August 15 at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts), Levon Helm apparently won’t sing.  A note on his website says: “Due to his rigorous performance schedule, coupled with dozens of interviews with the press & media, Levon has overtaxed his voice.  He’s been advised by professionals to be on vocal rest for the next several weeks.  Levon will play drums and mandolin at all shows, but the vocal duties will be handled by the members of his band including his daughter, Amy Helm, Larry Campbell, Teresa Williams, Brian Mitchell and, when in town, Jimmy Vivino (from the Tonight Show band).”  That’s a drag.

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From Texas to Woodstock

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2009 by 30daysout
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Johnny Winter

When I worked at a small Southeast Texas daily newspaper, we used to try to find “local” angles in pretty much everything in order to have something special for the readers.  Once I thought about writing a column for the 10th anniversary of Woodstock (that would be in 1979) about all of the people from the Golden Triangle area of Texas (Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange) who played at Woodstock.  It was a pretty lame idea back then to put into print, but today this is the internet — and it’s the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, so why not?

Ahem.  You know about Janis Joplin, I suppose.  Born in Port Arthur, Texas, attended high school there, left for Austin then San Francisco and hit it big with Big Brother and the Holding Company.  But when she played Woodstock she’d already left that band – she had the Kozmic Blues Band playing behind her (which unfortunately didn’t include her Big Brother guitarist Sam Andrew).  Joplin is a legend and you know her place in history – in a week or so we’ll tell another story about her.

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Everywhere Was A Song And A Celebration

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , on July 19, 2009 by 30daysout

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Is the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair, held in 1969, truly a defining moment in human history?  No, but it’s always been a good excuse to have a party.  Many people are probably already sick of the ongoing 40th anniversary of Woodstock this summer – however we could all take a little lesson from a time that was a little more daring and hopeful, and tolerant.  Woodstock will be celebrated most notably at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on the original festival grounds with the Heroes of Woodstock performance on August 15, however there are many more celebrations planned through the summer and into the fall.

A good new website, Woodstockstory.com, details the celebrations around the world in commemoration of the Woodstock festival.  A free “West Fest” to be in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this October will have a huge lineup including Country Joe McDonald and Denny Laine (Wings, Moody Blues) as well as members of such bands as the Chambers Brothers, the Byrds and Blue Cheer.  Check out the official website here.

Woodfest ’09 in Davis, Oklahoma, will be on the Woodstock weekend (August 14-15) featuring “tribute” acts to the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and the headliner, Essra Mohawk, who was an opening act back in the day.  More tribute bands will descend on Galt Airport near Chicago the same weekend for A Woodstock Illinois Tribute, featuring the music of Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Janis Joplin, the Who, Santana and more.

And finally, if you haven’t yet encountered the brown acid, try Ang Lee’s movie Taking Woodstock, which will be released August 28.  The film is the story of Elliot Tiber, who was one of the people behind the scenes in the creation of the festival. Tiber is played by deadpan comic Demetri Martin and also features Emile Hirsch, Liev Schrieber, Eugene Levy and Paul Dano.  So even if you’re not going back to the Garden this summer, you have plenty of opportunities to let your freak flag fly.

MP3: “Woodstock” by Matthews’ Southern Comfort

MP3: “For Yasgur’s Farm” by Mountain

MP3: “Roll Another Number (For The Road) by Neil Young

Woodstock.com

YouTube: “Taking Woodstock” movie trailer