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Ringo Starr, Santana & more to play scaled-down Woodstock anniversary in Bethel Woods

Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival

There were to be two competing festivals commemorating Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, but now there’s just one, as the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival is being scaled back to three separate events over three days. Originally billed as a “new three-day festival of music, culture and community,” with TED-style talks and special exhibits, the festival was to be produced by Live Nation, brand communications agency INVNT, and Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (the music venue currently located at Woodstock’s original site). It wasn’t associated with original Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang, however, who is throwing his own official Woodstock anniversary festival at Watkins Glen.

INVNT announced that they were pulling out of the Bethel Woods event in a press release, with CEO Scott Cullather writing, “INVNT will not be involved in the new format and we wish Bethel Woods and Live Nation, as well as the organizers of the other 50th anniversary celebrations taking place around the world, the very best. Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival was always about putting fans at the very heart, by celebrating the legacy of the 1969 Woodstock festival – the artists who played there and the people who attended – and inspiring them to make the world a better place through carefully curated music, culture and community-driven experiences. We hope that past, present and future fans are able to revel in the celebrations this year, and that the events empower them to advocate for positive social change just as the 1969 festival did.”

The three separate events that replace the festival will be a part of Bethel Woods’ season-long “A Season of Song & Celebration,” which formally begins on March 30 when the museum and fields reopen for 2019. August 15-18 is being billed as “Anniversary Week,” and includes a series of concerts on the original festival weekend: Ringo Starr and his All Star Band, Arlo Guthrie, and Edgar Winter with The Edgar Winter Band on Friday August 16, and Santana, (who was the first artist confirmed for the Bethel Woods festival) and The Doobie Brothers on Saturday August 17. The bill for Sunday is still TBA.

“Anniversary Week” at Bethel also includes extended museum hours, a screening of Woodstock: the Director’s Cut on the festival field on Thursday, August 15, and more.

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