50 years ago this weekend, 400,000 hippies hungry for peace, love, and music flocked to Bethel, New York for Woodstock. Now, on the anniversary of the legendary festival, caretakers of the original site are hoping they don’t see repeat attendance.
Despite Woodstock 50 failing to secure the site (or any location) for its doomed anniversary concert, there are in fact shows taking place this weekend at what is now the Bethel Woods Center. Ringo Starr, Santana, The Doobie Brothers, John Fogerty, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Grace Potter will all perform during three separate concerts from Friday the 16th through Sunday the 18th. Plus, on Thursday, Arlo Guthrie will play before a screening of 1970’s Woodstock documentary held on the field itself.
However, for those who don’t have tickets to these gigs, officials are asking that they stay away from the hollowed grounds. (Psst, check for tickets here.)
As Bethel Woods CEO Darlene Fedun told The Associated Press (via Variety), “We’re trying to encourage people that are not interested in the concert-side of things, and just want to come and sort of breathe the air and feel the vibes … to come on other weekends.”
Even with the warning, up to 100,000 tourists are expected to make the pilgrimage to Upstate New York over the course of the three days. To curb overcrowding, state troopers will have checkpoints along roads into the venue, and ticket-holders will have to present an accompanying travel pass to get onto the Bethel Woods site. Vehicles will also be prohibited from parking on roads or shoulders anywhere near the venue under threat of towing.
Bethel Woods Center officials aren’t trying to completely curb tourism, of course. They’re offering a free shuttle bus from town to bring people to the Woodstock monument all weekend — but they’re limiting visits to 30 minutes.
For an aural trip back to Woodstock, take a listen Santana’s chat on Kyle Meredith With…, in which he discusses releasing his debut album around the time of the festival, “Smooth”, and his new Africa Speaks LP. Check it out below. You can also tune into WXPN during the anniversary weekend for a full broadcast of the original festival timed precisely to the actual event.