Location of 1969 Festival in Sullivan County Officially Recognized on State and National Registers
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Continues Site Preservation Efforts
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, has officially been placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is a program of the National Park Service and U.S. Department of the Interior which recognizes the significance of buildings, structures and sites throughout the country.
"Woodstock was a pivotal moment in both New York and American history, bringing together the unique art and music in an event that changed this nation's cultural and political landscape," Governor Cuomo said. "This prestigious recognition will help preserve a priceless New York landmark for current and future generations of New Yorkers."
In August 1969, more than 400,000 people traveled to Max Yasgur's dairy farm for the now-famous three-day music festival, featuring some of the most iconic musicians of all-time. Today, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located at the Woodstock site, inspires and educates students and visitors through the arts and humanities. The Museum at Bethel Woods explores the social, political, cultural and musical transformations of the sixties while drawing connections to the issues that continue to affect our world today. It features an award-winning permanent collection, evolving exhibits and engaging programs.
Darlene Fedun, Chief Executive Officer of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, said, "We are thrilled to be officially placed on the National Register. We take our role as stewards of the land very seriously, and have done so since the beginning. We understand how important the festival was to American history and Sullivan County, and we use that as inspiration for all that we do. Our programming, whether it be in The Museum, in our education initiatives, on our grounds, or on our Main Stage, embodies the spirit of the '60s and Woodstock festival. Being placed on the National Register will only further our efforts and ensure that these hallowed grounds are preserved for generations to come and enjoy."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Woodstock was an influential event for both America and New York State, and the festival site is well-deserving of this recognition on the National Register of Historic Places. Just as it drew nearly a half-million people in 1969, the site still draws scores of visitors each year who reflect on the music of the festival and the heritage of the festival grounds. I congratulate Bethel Woods, and I encourage everyone to plan a trip to visit the museum and historic site."
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "I applaud the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for winning this important distinction. Listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places is an effective way to give the nationally significant concert site the recognition and support it deserves."
Through a challenge grant from the Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation, and matching funds from National Trust for Historic Preservation and several individual donors, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has begun the first phase of projects to enhance the site’s authenticity and give heritage visitors more opportunities to explore the historic site. These projects include; the protection of several venerable old trees that witnessed the festival, propagation of the historic Message Tree so that its own offspring may one day replace it when that day comes, clearing the view shed and other improvements at the Woodstock monument, and the creation of a contemplative overlook at the top of the festival field nestled amidst a pair of black cherry trees which also bore witness to the events in 1969.
The centerpiece of the initial preservation project is the restoration of several of the footpaths that crisscrossed the Bindy Bazaar woods across Hurd Road from the festival field. These restored paths will offer visitors the opportunity to explore what was once an important vending area and crossroads of the Woodstock festival, enhancing the site experience. The colorful sign that marked the entrance to the woods during the festival will be reproduced, as will the famous, hand-painted directional signs that proclaimed the "High Way," "Groovy Way," and "Gentle Path" in the woods.
Future projects will further enhance the historic site drawing tourists from across the country and around the world. These plans include restoring the landscape contours where the Woodstock stage stood and marking the footprints of the stage and other key structures on the field, as well as developing an interactive self-guided tour of the grounds. To learn more about these projects and helping to preserve the site please visit bethelwoodscenter.org/the-museum/clr.
Senator John Bonacic said, "The historical, musical and cultural significance of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair simply cannot be overstated. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has done an incredible job of preserving that history and beauty and this designation from the National Register of Historic Places will allow Bethel Woods to continue to do so for years to come."
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said, "A nod to the rich history of New York State, Bethel Woods Center is deserving of this esteemed acknowledgment as it is plays an important role in the arts and culture found across the state. The Woodstock site, which was once a hub of political and artistic movement in the 1960s, will now be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for helping make this a reality and for bringing support to this world-renowned destination in Sullivan County."
Sullivan County Legislature Chairman Luis Alvarez said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for ensuring that Bethel Woods is rightly placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though Woodstock was only three-day festival, this recognition will ensure that its legacy will live on forever. An important site where helped shape society today, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will continue to be a place where art flourishes and creativity thrives."
About Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts inspires, educates, and empowers individuals through the arts and humanities by presenting a diverse selection of culturally-rich performances, popular artists, and community and educational programming. Located 90 miles from New York City at the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival in Bethel, NY, the lush 800-acre campus includes a Pavilion Stage amphitheater with seating for 15,000, an intimate 440-seat indoor Event Gallery, the award-winning Museum at Bethel Woods, and a Conservatory for arts education programming.
Through the in-depth study and exhibition of the social, political, and cultural events of the 1960s, as well as the preservation of the historic site of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, Bethel Woods educates individuals about the issues and lessons of the decade while inspiring a new generation to contribute positively to the world around them. The not-for-profit organization relies on the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations to develop and sustain programs that improve the quality of life in the region and beyond.
For more information please visit www.BethelWoodsCenter.org.