When driving on Route 17 through the town of White Lake, NY, and into Bethel motorists come upon a green, hilly farm area that doesn’t look particularly different from that of its surrounding terrain. Unless one is intending on finding it, the average person would probably have no idea that they were looking at the original site of Woodstock, the 1969 Rock ‘N Roll concert that changed the world of music forever. Until recently the only thing that marked the hollowed Rock grounds was a large plaque at the top of one of the hills that listed all of the various acts and a replica of the dove-on-guitar-head insignia.
However, that all changed last summer when the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors on the sacred ground. A beautiful, sprawling outdoor concert pavilion that features both assigned and lawn seating, Bethel Woods has burst onto the northeast music scene and given upstate New Yorkers a new venue for entertainment. . .
“Presentation, location and status as a not-for-profit organization sets us apart from the long list of outdoor concert pavilions,” explains Bethel Woods Marketing Director Matt McNeil. “Set within 1700 bucolic acres in upstate NY, the newly designed venue compliments it surroundings. Structures of cedar and copper blend tastefully with our natural environment. Our historic location at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival provides artists with the opportunity to play and perform on one of music’s most legendary grounds. The site remains to be a much visited destination by tourist from around the world. Opening this spring the Museum at Bethel Woods will allow visitors to explore the 60’s and experience the Woodstock Festival.”
In only its second summer of operation the 12,000-seat venue has already hosted quite a few impressive acts. In addition to Woodstock-era rockers Phil Lesh, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Bob Dylan and Chicago, the venue has succeeded in luring in some of today’s biggest acts. Ashlee Simpson, The Goo Goo Dolls and Brad Paisley have all performed at Bethel Woods in its first two years of operation, with Paisley making an appearance in both 2006 and 2007.
However, it’s really the not-for-profit acts that have McNeil and others excited about the venues future.
“As a not-for-profit organization, we have the opportunity expand our programming to include a mix of musical genres, including classic and contemporary rock, pop, classical, jazz and country,” McNeil said. “Also, we will continue to feature educational programs like the Youth@Jazz event that featured high school jazz student performances at the August 4th Evening of Jazz concert.”
Though the yearly revenue report is still some months away according to McNeil (who indicated that the concert web site Pollstar.com would post their gains immediately following their release), this is one venue that won’t be off of people’s radar for long. The secondary ticket market offers a variety of affordable tickets for events at the venue that are close to face value. According to Ticketliquidator.com, seats for the upcoming Willie Nelson show at Bethel Woods are ranging from as low as $51 to $87 for lawn seats.
Whether you are a Rock ‘N Roll history buff, or someone looking for a serene location to see a concert, you can’t go wrong with Bethel Woods.