This venue is run by folks with a next-level understanding of frolicking —as it should be.
Celebrate the season right, amid the glorious Sullivan Catskills at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. This year, enjoy a plethora of fun dates that range all the way from summer spirits to pumpkin time.
There’s the 24th annual HARVEST FESTIVAL, six weekends of exuberant farmer’s markets with a food truck court, a performance stage, and over 80 vendors of all that is fresh, local, and fine. The second week in October, they’re hosting the BIG SIP, gathering the crafters of wine and spirits from all over the state and right down the street and setting it all to live music. Next comes PEACE, LOVE AND PUMPKINS, an evening Halloween trail for all ages—except on a couple of designated Fright Nights when things get a little wilder. This venue, you may be gathering, is run by folks with a next-level understanding of frolicking—as it should be.
A Little Living History
Everyone knows this part. The 400,000 who flooded Yasgur’s Farm that weekend in ‘69 were so high on music, each other, and assorted psychedelia that they withstood pouring rain and tight rations and, in overwhelming numbers, helped one another and had fun. Locally, the spot where they gathered became an informal shrine, with folks turning up every year to spend the third weekend of August camping and carrying on. Some locals fussed; there were efforts to shut it all down that never quite took.
The outdoor amphitheater has welcomed Elton John, Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Pitbull, Jimmy Buffet, Van Halen, Jason Aldean, Lady Gaga, and a wildly diverse host of others. Last summer’s lineup alone included Chicago, Phish, the Backstreet Boys, Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival...
The story of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts begins with Alan Gerry, a born-and-raised resident of Liberty, NY. Passionate about improving the quality of life in his beloved hometown, Gerry founded the Gerry Foundation with future plans of creating an arts center in the 1990s. After acquiring the land where the original Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place, the Gerry Foundation produced the “Day in the Garden” music festival, reawakening the potential of the long-dormant site. In 2006, the Center officially opened its doors for their inaugural season. Since 2006, the outdoor amphitheater for 16,000 has welcomed Elton John, Dave Matthews Band, Sting, Pitbull, Jimmy Buffet, Van Halen, Jason Aldean, Lady Gaga, and a wildly diverse host of others. Last summer’s lineup alone included Chicago, Phish, the Backstreet Boys, Willie Nelson’s Outlaw Music Festival, and the New Jersey Symphony’s performance of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Beyond the headliners, there are workshops, lectures, films, and music in an indoor amphitheater that seats 422. There are sensory-friendly days and a team of teaching artists who travel to local schools; there are P.L.A.Y. (Peace, Love, Arts and You) programs for ages 5-15; a free 10-week digital photography intensive for teens; Project: Identity, and a Rock Camp.
The legacies that live on—art, kindness, equality, sustainability—are an alternative skein of American history embraced by millions and available to all.
Stop by the 800-acre campus to absorb the vibrations. “An unbeatable musical lineup, unprecedented crowds, near disasters, and hippies mired in mud often overshadow the numerous accomplishments of the many young artists, designers, and craftspeople whose contributions made the Woodstock Music & Art Fair what it was, just as much as any organizer or musician,” says Julia Fell, Exhibit Curator.
“Our 2022 Special Exhibit is a celebration of just that,” she continued.
So the long hair got brushed and the split ends have been trimmed. Still. It happened here, a harbinger of possibility, a great shout for peace and freedom. The legacies that live on—art, kindness, equality, sustainability—are an alternative skein of American history embraced by millions and available to all. Come get you some.
Bethel Woods center for the arts
200 Hurd Road, Bethel