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New Woodstock Venue Rechristens The Garden

June 25, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Twenty-nine is the magic number for Summer of Love hold-overs who have been anticipating a Woodstock flashback since 1969.

One year short of the festival's 30th anniversary, a gathering of Free Love-era musicians will flock to Max Yasgur's legendary farm for a celebration of peace, love and happiness this summer. The oddly timed commemoration will kick off Aug. 14 -- 28 years and 164 days after the original opening -- with performances by Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Marley & the Melodymakers and Ten Years After, who originally performed at 8 p.m. on Aug. 17, 1969.

The following day will feature Woodstock veterans Pete Townshend [who will perform a healthy dose of Who] and Richie Havens alongside Lou Reed and Joni Mitchell, who penned the legendary song "Woodstock."

More acts may still be added, the concert's executive producer Danny Socolof told JAMTV on Wednesday

"This is almost a collection of rock's greatest poet laureates," Socolof said. "Fans can look forward to one of the most compelling groups of live artists ever assembled for any event."

Dubbed "A Day in the Garden," the two-day event will cater to a more mature audience than Woodstock '94, which welcomed relatively young artists like Collective Soul, Live, Nine Inch Nails, Metallica, Porno for Pyros and Green Day into the hippie fold. That all-star anniversary celebration also waxed nostalgic with Woodstock throwbacks The Band, Bob Dylan, Santana and Crosby, Stills & Nash -- none of whom are slated to perform at this summer's event.

"This is the first I've heard of [Woodstock 1998]," a spokeswoman for Carlos Santana and Crosby, Stills & Nash said when asked about a possible invitation to play. She said Santana is booked at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles that weekend, and will not likely jet cross-country to the tribute. Though David Crosby and his side project band CPR will be available this August, he has no plans to perform now, she said. In addition, the Other Ones' spokesman said the remaining members of the Grateful Dead have not received an invitation to the Woodstock reunion either.

This summer's Bethel, N.Y., festival is not being called another Woodstock regurgitation, but rather the dawning of a new era.

"This is not a Woodstock, this is a Day in the Garden," Socolof said. "The owner of [Yasgur's farm] is developing the site with long-range plans to make it a large-scale music attraction and event site. This is the grand unveiling."

Though no future concert plans are in place at this time, Socolof said the world's most famous farm will receive more rock 'n' roll traffic in the near future.

Aside from the title, this year's festival will differ from its predecessors in both size and price. Though only eight artists are scheduled to play the August shows, tickets will cost 250 percent more than they did in 1969, when $18 bought you access to more than 30 acts over three days. Whereas tickets for 1994's 40-artist festival cost $135 for three days of music, this year's promoters are charging $69.98 for each day. However, "A Day in the Garden" will reward family values by allowing children under 12 to enter with an adult for free.

A spokeswoman for the event told JAMTV that promoters feel the $70 ticket price is reasonable because acts like Nicks and Mitchell charge nearly that much for a single show. Tickets for Nicks' show this Friday at the Walnut Creek Amphitheatre in Raleigh, N.C. sold for between $17.50 and $47.50 each.

Like its renowned forerunners, this year's shows will last nearly all day, yet artists will play up to two-hour sets and attendance will be limited to 30,000 per day. In contrast, 500,000 fans attended the three-day festival in 1969, and between 235,000 and 350,000 people grooved in Saugerties, N.Y., earlier this decade.

"A Day in the Garden" will pay tribute to its roots by displaying '60s memorabilia and holding seminars on the era of protest and passion. The festival, which was designed to attract tourism and publicity to the town of Bethel, N.Y., will tap local talent to perform on a side stage at the two-day festival.

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