The official Woodstock 50th anniversary concert was cancelled Thursday. Festival organizers had trouble locking down a venue and then, several artists that had committed to the event pulled out.
But in Connecticut, organizers are going through with a plan to commemorate the anniversary in their Woodstock – an idea that came from Governor Ned Lamont.
Connecticut’s Woodstock Tribute Concert, or ‘Nedstock’, as Connecticut Public Radio studio host Colin McEnroe recently referred to it, will take place Friday August 30 at the Woodstock Fair from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
“Woodstock, Connecticut is going to be the venue for the greatest 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival,” Lamont said. “I’m told over 50 bands are competing right now representing different acts from the Woodstock from 50 years ago. We’re going to narrow that down to five of them and they’re going to be performing on August 30, so you oughtta come.”
One of the bands will be crowned Connecticut’s Band of the Year. Lamont will be a celebrity judge.
He put the concert idea out there at his ‘transition policy summit’ at Eastern Connecticut State University back in November.
“I see it’s the 50th anniversary of Woodstock,” said Lamont on November 27. “There’s some amazing Woodstock tribute bands out there. We have a town called Woodstock. Maybe we should host our own Woodstock 50th anniversary festival.”
He said the event would be a boost to economic development with an arts and culture twist, and one way to keep young people from leaving Connecticut.
Now that the event is happening, some young people will benefit. Rob Blanchard, Lamont’s deputy communication’s director, said that music and performing arts students from the University of Hartford and Connecticut’s four state universities will get in to the event for free.
Lamont: ‘It’s Going To Be A Kick’
The concert will kickoff with state Sen. George Logan playing ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ on the guitar – that’s in honor of Jimi Hendrix doing it 50 years ago at Woodstock.
Lamont was 15 back then.
“I can remember in 1969 that my friends who had an older brother or sister were able to sneak up to the fair,” Lamont said. “I was the oldest in my family.”
He didn’t make it. Lamont said he listened on the radio and his favorite performance from the show was Joe Cocker's performance of "With A Little Help From My Friends."
“Over the last 50 years, a lot of folks in our generation remember those songs,” Lamont said. “They’re seminal to that era and this is bringing back those vibes.”
The budget for the show, according to Lamont’s staff, is between $25,000 and $30,000 and Blanchard stresses that it won’t be paid for with money from the state. He said it’s actually Lamont himself who’ll cover most of it. So, the governor must really want people to go.
“It’s going to be a kick,” Lamont said.