Ongoing Preservation Efforts
Cultural Landscape Report
In 2014, The Museum at Bethel Woods commissioned a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) to serve as a guide to the proper stewardship and interpretation of the Woodstock Festival Historic Site. The report, created by the historic landscape architecture firm of Heritage Landscapes LLC and completed in 2015, summarizes the history, current conditions, and recommended treatments of the historic property. As stated in the CLR, “the recommendations aim to increase access and legibility of the stories embedded in the landscape.” By enhancing the authenticity of the site, Bethel Woods is simultaneously preserving a significant landmark of 20th-century popular culture AND creating a destination attraction for national and international tourism, benefiting the nonprofit mission and boosting the regional economy.
Funding for the CLR was made possible in part by grants from Jeff Bank Foundation; National Trust for Historic Preservation; The A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation; and Preservation League of New York State; and generous support from Jeffrey Allison and James Lomax, Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Boyd, Mr. and Mrs. Ric Coombe, Donald F. Dembert, Robyn Gerry and children, the Grillo Family, the Fishman Family and Majestic Drug Company, Steve and Sue Marton, and Mr. and Mrs. Howard Schor.
Archaeology Preserves Woodstock Festival Site
When you think about archeological digs, your mind might slip to the sand-covered landscapes of Egypt, or the ancient sites of long-dead civilizations. However, archeology can interpret and uncover the more recent past, as is the case at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
In 2018, a team of archeologists from the Public Archaeology Facility at Binghamton University led a series of micro-excavations to establish the location of the stage, sound, and light towers from the festival. Using computer-assisted design maps, archeologists sought out soil disturbances, discolorations and other evidence to pinpoint the outline of key festival landmarks, including the main stage, performers’ footbridge and the towers.
Today, guests to the museum can explore these landmarks with one of our docent-led tours of the historic grounds. Sign up when you visit The Museum at Bethel Woods.
Bindy Bazaar Reborn
The centerpiece of the preservation project was the restoration of several of the footpaths that crisscrossed the Bindy Bazaar woods across Hurd Road from the festival field. These restored paths offer visitors the opportunity to explore what was once an important vending area and crossroads of the Woodstock Festival. The colorful sign that marked the entrance to the woods during the festival has been reproduced, as has the famous, hand-painted directional signs that proclaimed the “High Way,” “Groovy Way,” and “Gentle Path” in the woods. The Bindy Bazaar Trails opened in Summer 2019 to visitors.
The Future of Preservation
Plans for future projects include restoring the landscape contours where the Woodstock stage stood and marking the footprints of the stage and other key structures on the field.
Additionally, Bethel Woods is bringing new content experiences to guests using augmented reality. Soon, guests of The Museum will be able to listen to legendary Woodstock artists from Slick to Santana, hear helicopters take off and land, “see” the stage as it was in 1969, and so much more. The augmented reality tour, developed in partnership with Antenna International and Earprint Immersive and funded in large part by American Express and Empire State Development, will feature numerous AR dimensions across more than 15 acres of iconic landscape at Bethel Woods, the site of the original Woodstock festival.