Something Governor Ned Lamont had been promising for 10 months finally happened Friday in Woodstock.
In the absence of an official Woodstock 50th anniversary concert in New York, Lamont invited the general public up to the Woodstock Fair for Connecticut’s own Woodstock tribute show.
The Balkun Brothers were the first act that got to play the fair – one of five bands that had a shot to win ‘Connecticut Band Of The Year’.
“Earlier this summer, we actually got to play up at Bethel Woods, where the original Woodstock was held and it was a magical place,” said Steve Balkun, who is the singer and guitarist in the band. “[It was] certainly amazing to see, but to make music there was even more magical. I spent many hours my hours as a teen devouring the Jimi Hendrix Live At Woodstock.”
The Hartford duo then proceeded to play ‘Voodoo Child’ by Jimi Hendrix in honor of the anniversary in front of a crowd of about 1,500 people at the Woodstock Fair.
Lamont was one of the judges on hand to help pick a winner. Beforehand, he was happy to talk about the event he’s been promoting since he got elected – one he even put some of his own money into to make it happen.
“I think it’s going to introduce young people to the most beautiful part of the state of the Connecticut,” Lamont said. “They come, they stay, they look around – maybe go to a bed and breakfast – or for the younger folks, they see what some of the music their grandparents are now talking about.”
Lindsay Pytel, 22, was one of the young people attending. She stood near the stage, wearing a band of yellow flowers in her hair.
“Woodstock is a time of peace and in a world like today, we need the peace and young people are about that, so I’m here to support that movement,” Pytel said.
But it wasn’t all ‘sunshine and tie-dye shirts’ for the Lamont administration at Connecticut’s Woodstock – some ‘No Tolls’ protesters also traveled up to the Quiet Corner to lobby the governor.
After the concert was over, it was a local band called ‘Last Licks’ that was named ‘Connecticut Band Of The Year.’ They won $7,500, which was part of a $17,000 prize pool that Gov. Lamont personally funded.