In August 1969, nearly 450,000 people came from all ends of the earth to converge on a Catskills dairy farm for the Woodstock festival–arguably, the greatest music festival ever. As we all know, peace, love, music, and good vibes were integral, and they still are at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Serving as a historical marker and cultural destination, the nonprofit center stands in the exact spot as the historic festival commenced, and is complete with a museum, large Pavilion amphitheater, an indoor, intimate Event Gallery, a Conservatory for arts and humanities programs, and acres of rolling countryside that is host to food and art festivals.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, Bethel Woods will celebrating all season long. From May to October, they’re playing host to a multitude of events, workshops, and of course, music! If you want to get in on some peace, love, music and fun, here’s our picks for the best events happening at Bethel Woods this season.
Vibrations Series: All Summer, May-October 2019
In 1969, Woodstock represented the power of love and community amidst chaos. Bethel Woods’ event series Vibrations celebrates the power and possibility of the decade, exploring music, iconic photography, film, mindfulness, environmental stewardship, deep space and more, connecting these conversations to the legacy of the sixties and movements of today.
Spanning from May through October, each of Vibration eight events bring together change-makers, artists, and influencers to open conversations, inspire thinking and awaken purpose. Highlights include Deep Field, a film premiere screening and discussion revolving around the the Hubble Space Telescope; Power of the Poster, an artist-led exhibit and discussion about the marriage of music and art from designers David Edward Byrd and Frank “Fraver” Verlizzo.
Vibrations includes multiple free events; tickets range from $20-30 for some. See the full Vibrations Series lineup here.
Chris Stapleton: Friday, July 26, 2019
As evidenced by multiple Grammys, CMA and ACM Awards, Nashville’s beloved Chris Stapleton is a force to be reckoned with in an otherwise bland sea of modern country music. As more of a traditionalist, Stapleton performs with a with a dignified melancholy and an abrasive twang that’s been missing from most country music for ages. In our humble opinion, the coolest show happening at Bethel Woods this summer.
This show is sold out, but try your luck online! Check out the entire pavilion lineup here.
Woodstock Golden Anniversary Weekend: August 15-18, 2019
Good vibes abound this August during Woodstock’s Golden Anniversary Weekend. On Thursday, Bethel Woods will present a free screening of Woodstock: The Director’s Cut on the historic festival field inviting guests to celebrate the anniversary on the very same site where the festival took place fifty years ago. To add to the festivities, Woodstock alum, Arlo Guthrie, will perform prior to the film screening, fifty years to the day he appeared at the festival.
On Friday night, Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band will be joined by special guests and Woodstock alumni, The Edgar Winter Band and Blood, Sweat & Tears. On Saturday night, Santana will play with the Doobie Brothers. On Sunday, John Fogerty will close out the weekend with a show mirrored after Creedence Clearwater Revival’s historic set at Woodstock exactly 50 years later. Before each event, ticket holders will be able to explore Bethel Woods’ upper campus beginning early in the afternoon for the day(s) they have a purchased concert ticket for. Pre-show festivities will consist of live music, food trucks, craft vendors, adult-art making, games, and variety of food and beverage options.
Additionally, The Museum will offer extended hours all week from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, with docents on-site to enhance your experience. Advance tickets are strongly encouraged due to the high level of interest expected during Anniversary Week and can be purchased online for a discounted rate. Tickets for shows range from $38.50 for GA lawn tickets, to more pricey VIP and family 4-packs. Get tickets via Ticketmaster.
We Are Golden Exhibit at the Museum at Bethel Woods: Through December 2019
The Museum at Bethel Woods is filled with an impressive collection of period photographs, film footage, newspapers, and ephemera–as well as clothing, jewelry, posters, and other artifacts from the Woodstock festival. It’s a must for any music lover! This summer, the museum adds We Are Golden exhibit to its already expansive collection and features additional photos, artifacts and other relics from Woodstock and the Woodstock era. Highlights include Jack Casady of Jefferson Airplane’s bass guitar and tunic, handwritten lyrics for “Goin’ Up the Country” by Alan Wilson of Canned Heat, and world-class photographs from the 15 best photographers of the festival. Additionally, this year Bethel Woods will open the Bindy Bazaar trail, where visitors can can go to for self-guided walking tours along a 1/5 mile trail, which served as a marketplace where vendors sold crafts and clothing. This trail was the “heart” of the festival, connecting the two major areas of festival grounds. In 2014, as stewards of the historic site, Bethel Woods commissioned a report to recommend ways in which to better preserve and interpret the site for guests; it’s now open for visitors and a nice tack-on for a museum visit.
Museum Admission is $19.69 at the door; if you’re going to a show, save $10 on admission with your same-day ticket, or purchase advance online for $8. Plan your visit following this link!
Mountain Jam: June 13-16, 2019
If you’re hoping to relive the magic of the original Woodstock festival–A.K.A. the greatest festival of all time–Mountain Jam might be your best chance: it’s the first music event at the Bethel site to let people stay on the grounds overnight since the original Woodstock in 1969. Over the course of four days, three stages at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will feature over 40 acts, including Willie Nelson, Gov’t Mule, and The Avett Brothers as the top-billed artists. Other notable acts include Michael Franti & Spearhead, The Revivalists, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds, Amy Helm, The Big Takeover, and the The Nude Party. See the daily lineup here.
Tickets range from $89 (advance Friday GA) to $649 (4-day VIP tickets); see all the options for Mountain Jam Festival Passes here.
Fall Festivals at Bethel Woods: September and October, 2019
The Bethel Woods’ Harvest Festival always mark the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Every Sunday in September, the festival highlights the bounty and talent of both the Catskills, with 100+ vendors including a farmer’s market, craft and artisan goods, specialty food, beer, wine, spirits and food trucks. New this year, each week of Harvest Festival will host a featured partner and attraction, allowing homegrown organizations and businesses the opportunity to connect with their community. Themed weekends include the Rosehaven Alpaca Festival, Catskills Fiber Festival, Sullivan 180 and Pop-Up Vintage Market. Activities on-site for each weekend include live music, corn and hay mazes, and horse and buggy rides. Great for kids, families, or basically anyone passing through the Catskills.
The Harvest Festival is free; parking is $3 per car (cash only.) Every Sunday in September 2019, from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m.
Last, with the arrival of October brings even more festivals, including the 8th Annual Wine Festival on October 5, and the 7th Annual Craft Beer, Spirits & Food Festival on October 12. This year, Bethel Woods is offering a Festival Combo Ticket–providing heavily discounted GA to both Craft: Beer, Spirits & Food and Wine Festival, now until 6/1/19 with limited capacity.