A day of song and remembrance will honor Woodstock legend

August 10, 2013 3:14:19 PM



BETHEL, NY -- On Sunday, Aug. 18, the ashes of music legend Richie Havens will be scattered across the field where the historic Woodstock Festival took place in 1969. Today it is the site of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. This Day of Song and Remembrance Honoring Richie Havens is free and open to the public.  


Guest speakers include Havens' longtime friends and fellow activists Danny Glover and Louis Gossett Jr. (who co-wrote "Handsome Johnny" with Havens) and original 1969 Woodstock Festival organizers Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman, with very special musical appearances by Jose Feliciano, John Hammond, John Sebastian, Steve Gorn with Sanjoy Bandopadhyay and Samir Chatterjee, Guy Davis, Walter Parks, Dayna Kurtz and others to be announced.  


Stage performances will be hosted by noted radio voice Dennis Elsas (WFUV/SiriusXM). Following the performances, Havens' ashes will be scattered with flower petals from the air across the field of Max Yasgur's Farm where the iconic artist played his legendary performance 44 years ago. 


It was Havens' wish that his ashes be scattered over the festival site. He was recognized globally for embodying the spirit of Woodstock, and he carried that message of peace and love everywhere he went. Though he traveled throughout the world for decades visiting and returning to countless locations, Yasgur's field in the Town of Bethel, Sullivan County New York always remained the location where he felt his deepest connection.  


A spokesperson for the musician's family explained, "Richie used to say a day never went by that he wasn't asked about Woodstock, and he certainly understood its profound and indelible cultural impact. As he said on the festival's 40th anniversary, 'Woodstock was both a peaceful protest and a global celebration. We came together communally to be heard and to be acknowledged.' Regarding the decision to invite the public on Aug. 18, there is really no question it's what Richie would've wanted. His family understands and respects that he is very much beloved and missed by many." 


"Richie was one of the world's greatest gifts, a consummate songwriter and performer. He was very supportive of Bethel Woods, our museum and our mission to educate and inspire expression," says Darlene Fedun, CEO of Bethel Woods. "We are proud to have known him personally and to be able to honor his wishes. He will be greatly missed." 


Havens first became part of musical history during his impromptu opening performance at the 1969 Woodstock Festival. Best known for his distinctive, intense, rhythmic guitar style and soulful covers of pop and folk songs, Havens toured and recorded music for over 40 years before retiring from the road three years ago. Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humor and his powerful presence. Richie Havens passed away on April 22. He was 72. 


For more information, visit richiehavens.com and BethelWoodsCenter.org.