Bethel Woods has announced that Ringo Starr and Santana will lead the original Woodstock site’s 50th anniversary celebration to the legendary 1969 festival. New York’s Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ half-centennial event – a separate festival from the one being organized by original Woodstock founder Michael Lang in Watkins Glen, New York – will also feature performances by Edgar Winter Band and the Doobie Brothers during August 15th through the 18th, that exact dates of the original festival.
On Thursday, August 15th, Bethel Woods will host a screening of the concert film Woodstock: The Director’s Cut on the field where the festival happened. Starr and the Edgar Winter Band will perform Friday at the venue’s 15,000-person amphitheater, with Santana and Doobie Brothers booked for Saturday. Sunday’s attendees will be announced soon.
“They have an amphitheater there,” Santana said in January of the Bethel Woods event. “I’m going to invite whoever is still here, whether it’s Joan Baez or members from Sly Stone, and I’m going to play Santana music. Santana’s going to be the house band, but I want to be able to honor those who are still here and maybe invite rappers like Common or Kendrick Lamar. Santana’s very interested, like Miles Davis, into connecting with people from seven-years-old to under 33. I don’t want to be just like a jukebox in the twilight zone, stuck in the Sixties.”
However, with just four artists booked, Bethel Woods has dramatically reduced the original scope of their 50th anniversary celebration, which initially promised “live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades, and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts.”
“We are humbled by the interest in the anniversary year and we realized it was greater than we’d ever dreamed,” Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ Chief Executive Officer Darlene Fedun said in a statement. “We recognize the importance of this place to so many, and our mission of preservation and interpretation of the 1960s is central to A Season of Song and Celebration, as it provides our guests the opportunity to reflect, to learn and to celebrate the legacy of what occurred here.”
Michael Lang’s Woodstock 50 festival, taking place August 16th through 18th, will announce its lineup when tickets go on sale later this month, although the organizer said 40 bands, including big-name headliners, have already been booked.
“It’ll be an eclectic bill,” Lang told Rolling Stone. “It’ll be hip-hop and rock and some pop and some of the legacy bands from the original festival.”