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Get Back--Woodstock 98...NOT!
by Haven James

Preview: A Day In the Garden Festival at Bethel

Day-tripper, yeah? Hard to imagine seeing Lou Reed in the sunshine, but stranger things have happened. Reed, Joni Mitchell, Pete Townsend and a bouquet of assorted veteran rock 'n' rollers will gather for A Day In The Garden at Bethel this weekend [8/14--8/16, 1998] on the original site of the 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Fair. Though the event marks the 29th anniversary of a generation's four days of infamy on the late Max Yasgur's fertile pastures, make no mistake--this is not Woodstock '98. Leave the tepee, cooler and camping tools home; just bring cash and credit cards, maybe a folding chair or blanket, an umbrella just because, and your reading glasses so you can study the rules, like no cameras or picnic baskets (there will be food and crafts booths to fill your needs).

The Gerry Foundation is now the owner of the Woodstock Festival site and Alan Gerry and his associates have set out to present this three-day daytime only event in a very designed manner. Mike DiTullo, one of the coordinators of the festival, offers the following perspective on the venue: "Our long-range plans are to develop a permanent international attraction that's based on American performing arts and music. This year, this is sort of like our maiden voyage; we thought we would have a day in the garden, [so] that's what we're calling the festival. [It's] three separate days, it's not a Woodstock reunion, it's nothing like Woodstock. We're limiting this to 30,000 persons a day. There's no overnight camping; we're shooting for an older demographic, the baby-boomers between 25 and 50/55, [and] we're looking to do just a nice two days of music and fun. The third day we're targeting a younger demographic--it's more modern, or alternative rock, you know, with the Goo Goo Dolls and Marcy Playground. So what we're trying to say is the first two days we're recognizing, and maybe showing our respect for, the classic rock or the Hall of Famers, and then the third we're saying that we're also thinking about the future and there are some rookies out there that we also want to acknowledge and feature."

So, from the production standpoint, this is not the same old ruse crew of likely suspects. It is a new, well-funded, and, at least on paper, highly organized unit with long-range plans, goals, and targets with pictures and arrows on 8x10 glossies. No, Arlo won't be there, but of course Richie Havens will, along with Ten Years After, Melanie, and Pete Townsend. That's about it for returning veterans of '69.

An enticing thing about the remainder of the big acts scheduled is that many of them are not often seen in this area. Friday brings Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers (noon), Ten Years After (1:30), Don Henley (3), Stevie Nicks (5), and late addition Francis Dunnery. Saturday features Donovan (11 a.m.), Havens (noon), Lou Reed (1), Joni Mitchell (3), and Townsend (5).

Even bigger news for some locals is the appearance of a bevy of area bands throughout the three-day affair. DiTullo and his assistant, Susan Leventoff, filled us in on these blossoming poppies. "We have hired around 15 to 20 local performers who will be playing throughout all three days. There is a second stage so they'll be playing before the headliners and then in between the headliners," DiTullo says. Ulster's own Perfect Thyroid will open the show Sunday morning on the Main Stage. They'll be followed by Dishwalla, Joan Osborne, Marcy Playground, Goo Goo Dolls, and Third Eye Blind.

An almost-final list of the area bands booked for Stage Two follows: Starting Friday at 9 a.m. they are Afroblue, the Larry Hoppen Band, the Mountain Laurel Band, Pottersfield (who wrote the festival song, "Day In The Garden"), Ellen Avakian, Barclay Cameron, Micheal Kroll, and Whatch. Saturday brings Barbara Paras, Gavin DeGraw, New Frontier, Greg Press, Dan Sherwin, the Rausch Bros., the Don Lewis Band, and Blues 2000. Sunday wraps with Borilis, The Works, The Flies, Wonderkind, Leslie Nuchow, Girlfriend, Jimsons Lyric, and Trinket. And there were still discussions in process about adding a few more Woodstock (the town) artists to the lineup, maybe Justin Love's Big Red Rocket and the Dharma Bums. "That's quite a lot of local talent we're featuring, and we're proud to do that," DiTullo says. "This is a great opportunity for these acts to be playing with legendary performers."

The report from Bethel is that the infrastructure is set and the site is ready to rock. Word is that it's almost surreal there, and isn't that the way a garden is supposed to be? Tickets are sort of surreal at this point, too. They are now two-for-one, approximately $70 per day (for a pair) Friday and Saturday and half that for Sunday. They can be purchased through TicketMaster by phone or ordered directly using the www TicketMaster or through the Day In The Garden website, which will be linked from Werewolves on the web at or the Woodstock Times at, which links everything to everybody, everywhere, even in the garden.

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on August 12, 1998

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