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Woodstock and Stonewall Anniversaries plus World Pride’s American Debut



Posted on: 11 Apr 2019

Fifty years ago, New York State was the epicentre for two cultural turning points: the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and the Stonewall uprising. In June 1969, LGBTQ community members stood up against discrimination at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, considered by many as the catalyst for the modern LGBTQ rights movement. Later that summer, an estimated 400,000 people descended on the town of Bethel in the Catskills for Woodstock, a pivotal music and counterculture generation event.

Here's a selection of some of the special commemorations that are planned across the state to mark these golden anniversaries:

Woodstock Goes Golden

All eyes are on New York this summer as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair:

March 30th saw the opening of the “We Are Golden” exhibit - an exhibition at Bethel Woods examining Woodstock and what the youth of 1969 wanted for the world, placing the festival in the context of the positive societal changes it spawned, from the Concert for Bangladesh to Live Aid, Farm Aid, We Are the World, Earth Day, the Peace Movement, Women's Movement, LGBTQ Movement, #MeToo, the Women's March and student gun control movement. 

The restored "Bindy Bazaar" trails on the Woodstock site -- where vendors sold crafts and clothing and festivalgoers travelled between two major areas of the festival grounds -- will be opened following the completion of the first phase of a restoration project on May 4th. 

From August 15-18, music lovers from around the globe will make their pilgrimage to the site of the original concert in the Catskills, where Bethel Woods Center for the Arts will host an outdoor screening of the famous Woodstock documentary on the very field where the festival occurred. This is part of “A Season of Song and Celebration” which includes performances from legendary musicians including Ringo Starr, Arlo Guthrie and Santana.

Michael Lang, co-founder of the original Woodstock, will host Woodstock 50 at Watkins Glen International from August 16-18, with multiple stages featuring a recently announced who's who line-up of artists spanning music genres and generations. Headliners include Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Sturgill Simpson, and The Killers and original Woodstock performers like David Crosby, John Fogerty, Country Joe McDonald and Melanie.

Artistically Proud

In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, New York State will host WorldPride 2019, the first time the international event will be held in the United States. Several of New York State’s esteemed arts and culture institutions are adding their support with events of their own:

·        The Albany Symphony’s "Sing Out, New York!" (May 28-June 2 and June 6-9) will present free, outdoor concerts of performances including John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, "Of Rage and Remembrance," a tribute to those lost to AIDS; and the premiere of composer Viet Cuong's piece inspired by the beginning of the gay rights movement.

·        Bishop Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop and Vice President of Religion at Chautauqua Institution, will lead a discussion about the building of America’s LGBTQ community on July 2 during the weeklong “Uncommon Ground: Communities Working Toward Solutions” program. The discussion will feature prominent advocates like Judy Shepard, who started the Matthew Shepard Foundation to advance equal LGBTQ rights after her son was killed in a hate crime.  

·        On July 5, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Pride at the Falls, a free concert at Niagara Falls. The concert will be accompanied by fireworks and the falls will be lit in rainbow colours.

·        To close out the commemorative events for WorldPride and Stonewall 50, LGBTQ comedian Matteo Lane will be performing two shows on July 6 at the National Comedy Center. The New York-based comedian has performed stand-up on various shows including The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Late Night with Seth Meyers, and was recognized by The Advocate as one of its 2018 LGBT Icons, Innovators, and Disruptors.

For more information on these and other happenings in New York State this year, visit iloveny.com.