Volunteer Stories: Molly McCoy

Exploring the stories of Woodstock attendees turned Bethel Woods volunteers.

molly mccoy

Molly McCoy did not plan on attending the Woodstock festival in 1969, but made her way there after a babysitting gig. Her payment was a last minute ride to the festival, and for Molly, this ended up being more valuable than any sum of money. 

Molly and her friend rode to Bethel, NY together, but were separated almost immediately after arriving to the site of the festival on Saturday afternoon. She ventured by herself for the rest of the weekend and found a few friends along the way.  “I crested the hill and saw my world below,” Molly said, describing her first look at the festival. She said the same feelings and energy come right back to her when she walks over this hill today.  The highlight of the festival for Molly was the rain; she’s had a profound love of rain ever since. 

molly mccoy portrait
Molly McCoy in 1969. Photo provided.

Molly returned to Bethel, NY every summer since the 20th anniversary of Woodstock to visit the field. It wasn’t until five years after the Museum at Bethel Woods opened that she came to see the Center. 

“In the end, they’ve preserved my field and built this amazing venue. They celebrate us,” she said. “Woodstock was something that will not be repeated, but we celebrate [its legacy]... that’s what we’re doing here [at Bethel Woods].”

After visiting for an event in 2016, Molly saw the volunteer pamphlets in the museum and decided that was what she wanted to perpetuate the legacy of an event so monumental to her. 

Molly now volunteers with guest services for the museum and during pavilion shows. Additionally, she is currently training to be a docent tour guide.  And while she loves to share her experience and teach others about the site's historic legacy, for Molly, her favorite part of volunteering at Bethel Woods is meeting other Woodstock alumni.

“You see someone you’ve never met before and have an instant bond with them, and they all feel the same way about this place,” she said. “This place has brought people together that would have never found each other.”

Attending Woodstock played a major role in Molly’s life, and she is grateful to Bethel Woods for not only preserving its legacy, but perpetuating the same feelings of peace, love, and unity. "It changed me,” she said. “It felt like home when I came here in ‘69 and it still feels like home now. Home is where the heart is, and that’s here.”

Photo and interview done by Bethel Woods Marketing Intern, Lindsey Toomer.

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