Saturday, August 15, 2009

40th Anniversary of Woodstock: Heat, but No Mud in NY

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the start of the legendary Woodstock festival in Bethel, New York... three days of music, peace, and mud. Fortunately, after a summer full of unseasonably wet weather, the NYC area is free of rain and mud for this anniversary weekend; it'll be hot and sunny.

There of course will be a range of events in upstate New York to commemorate the Woodstock anniversary, including a couple of Richie Havens performances. There of course will be special observances at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a new facility that offers concerts and other events throughout the year, as well as a museum. Today is a (sold-out) Heroes of Woodstock concert featuring the Levon Helm Band, Jefferson Starship, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Mountain, and others.

A reading from the book "Woodstock Revisited" will be held August 17th, and Loggins & Messina and Poco will play a show on the 21st. There are also events such a a wine festival, county picnic, and even an alpaca day (bring your own alpaca?)

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts seems to be a great development, bringing music and arts to the area of the Woodstock festival throughout the year, instead of just one weekend.

There was a big crowd at the Blondie/Pat Benatar/Donnas free concert in Coney Island Thursday night, but the only mud in sight was in a small puddle off one of the walkways. It was a great show, however, especially from the two co-headliners, who still sounded in good form after more than a quarter century while tearing through sets of their best-known tunes. (The Donnas sounded fine, but had a very short opening set.)

Pat Benatar couldn't hit the high notes the way she used to, but other than that her voice had much the same sound as it did back in the 1980s.

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