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Bethel Woods Concerts and more: What I Learned During my Visits

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Have you ever visited the Museum at Bethel Woods or attended any Bethel Woods Concerts?

Dear fellow music lovers,
My one and only regret in life is that I didn’t find out about ‘Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’ sooner. 
Because if I had, I would have attended MANY more Bethel Woods Concerts and enjoyed MANY more moments in this magical place.

After moving up to the Mid-Hudson Region in 2013, my family and I focused our efforts on finding things within a 10-15 mile radius from where we live and not getting lost along the way.

Because we had never lived anywhere rural, we kept all our adventures very close to home. And, boy, did we miss out on a lot those first few years. 

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Visit the original site of the Woodstock Music Festival when attending Bethel Woods Concerts

Seeing Bethel Woods Concerts: What to Expect

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR ENJOYING A VISIT & BETHEL WOODS CONCERTS: 
Plan your day ahead of time.

> Allow extra time for traffic. Bethel, NY is a small town and there are only a few ways in and out of the location. (More about this below)

> Make sure to purchase Premium Parking tickets AHEAD OF TIME for Bethel Woods Concerts. They often sell out. It’s an extra expense but will be worth it, as it’s convenient, especially after an evening at a concert.

> Check the weather, as it can be unpredictable, especially during the Summer months.

> Take lots of photos so you can reminisce about your outing at a later time!

Pro Tip: Pack extra essentials in your car (extra shoes, snacks, extra clothes in case you get wet in a rainstorm) Trust me… It’s happened to me.

A Visit to The Museum at Bethel Woods:

MUSEUM AT BETHEL WOODS HOURS: (2020)
Thur – Sun: 10am – 5pm (Fall/Winter)
Mon – Sun: 10am – 5pm (Summer)
ADMISSION:
$19.96 (adult); $17 (adult); $10 (ages 6-18); Free (children under age 5)
Discounted admission is offered during summer concert days: $10/day of visit
PARKING:
FREE
WEBSITE:
www.bethelwoodscenter.org

Where is Bethel Woods Located?

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is located in Bethel, NY (Sullivan County).

It is located approximately 2-3 hours from NYC and is the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Although many people think that the Woodstock Festival took place in Woodstock, NY, the actual site of the festival was changed several times before this farmland was chosen in Bethel, NY.

What is Bethel Woods Center for the Arts?

This not-for-profit performing arts center and the museum hosts an array of musical concerts and festivals throughout the year. 

It is here as a mecca for many, a place of relaxation for others and brings people together – just like it did 50+ years ago.

Bethel Woods is on the National Register of Historic Places

In addition to hosting fantastic musical acts and concerts each summer, Bethel Woods also houses a beautiful museum documenting the 1969 Woodstock Festival. 

Filled with video installations, original performance costumes, artifacts, and showcasing the music from that day and era, the Museum at Bethel Woods is a highlight of any visit to Bethel, NY.

Arriving at Bethel Woods Center for Bethel Woods Concerts

In June 2016, my husband bought me tickets to see Journey and the Doobie Brothers for a birthday present.

I was thrilled to not only experience an amazing concert but to also visit the site where ‘Music & Magic’ happened so many years before.

The Entrance to Bethel Woods Pavilion for Bethel Woods Concerts
Sculpture in front of the main building at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

All I can say is, “Wow”!

I was impressed because the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is not only beautiful, and, equally important, clean and so well organized.

I was impressed from the beginning of my visit to the end of the visit.

It was emotional to see people walking towards the field and being mesmerized by the field itself.

Before Bethel Woods Concerts, people stand around the site and look

During my visits, I arrived through the West Shore Road Entrance and was able to see The “Woodstock Festival Field” from the road.

This man, in particular, caught my attention. I’m sure he envisioned what it must have been like on that August day back in 1969 when hundreds of thousands of people arrived to celebrate music and, in turn, make Music History.

Entering Bethel Woods Center for the Arts & The Museum at Bethel Woods before Bethel Woods Concerts

Walking onto the property that houses the Museum, Box Office and Gift Shop is a magical experience.

The grounds and the main building are stunning! And I was lucky to have perfect day during my visits.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Entrance

The walkway leading to the Museum and Pavilion is paved with names and organizations that donated money towards this wonderful establishment.

Benches are also lined up on either side of the walkway where you can enjoy the day, eat your lunch and/or people watch.

The Museum at Bethel Woods

If you don’t visit ‘The Museum at Bethel Woods’ during your visit then you’re wasting your time.

Plan your time well and make sure to squeeze in a visit to the museum before you see any Bethel Woods Concert.

During my visit to ‘The Museum’, I was surprised I was able to visit the museum for a discounted price. This special offer is for those patrons that have a ticket to the concert that evening.

I say that’s a Win-Win!

PRO-TIP:
Entrance to ‘The Museum at Bethel Woods’ is discounted for those holding tickets to an evening concert on the same day of the visit.

Welcome sign at the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
The Entrance to the Museum at Bethel Woods

The Museum at Bethel Woods is Awe-inspiring with a wonderful collection of music memorabilia.

If you are going to a concert, this is a perfect beginning to an evening of music.

The Museum at Bethel Woods Displays artifacts and items from America's music history

If you are just visiting the Museum and grounds, then take your time doing so, because there is so much to see. You will want to take it all in!

They have many displays and showcase boxes housing original record covers, original show outfits of performers, and a collection of print material.

Original signs adorn the walls, as well as, original tickets and correspondences between the festival organizers and patrons. It is quite unbelievable.

They also have several video installations that take you back to that famous weekend and offer an abundance of information regarding the Woodstock Festival.

Video Installation at the Museum at Bethel Woods
A peace flag displayed at the Museum at Bethel Woods

And who doesn’t want to see the ‘Flower Power’ Woodstock bus? ☮️

The Flower Power bus at the Museum at Bethel Woods
Up close view of the Flower Power Bus at Bethel Woods

Lower Exhibits Change at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Orange County Choppers designed this motorcycle commemorating the Woodstock Festival

The lower level of the museum, adjacent to the bathroom, displays the performers from the 1969 Woodstock Festival.

Woodstock Festival Hallway Displey

It features each musical act, their bio and a list of their greatest hits. 

Woodstock Artists' name at the Museum at Bethel Woods
Signs at the Museum at Bethel Woods

Lining the walls are the pictures and information from the 1969 Woodstock Festival musical acts including:

  • Jefferson Airplane
  • Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • Santana
  • Sly & the Family Stone
  • Joan Baez
  • The Grateful Dead
  • Creedance Clearwater Revival
  • and many, many more…
People enjoying the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival

A FEW THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING ‘THE MUSEUM AT BETHEL WOODS:
> Plan to spend between 90 minutes to 2 hours exploring the various exhibits.

> If you miss anything or want to walk through again, you may do so by showing your ticket stub.

> Don’t forget to visit the Woodstock Monument during your visit (it is located on the corner of Hurds Road & West Shore Road)

Bethel Woods Concerts at the Pavilion

Bethel Woods Concerts are not only for country music lovers. The Pavilion showcases a wide variety of shows each Summer, from Top 40 Festivals, to Classic Rock, Alternative Rock, Rap and, of course, Country Music.

A view of the Pavilion from the walkway at Bethel Woods
Paths from the vending area to the seating area for a concert

PRO TIP:
There is a strict bag policy for concert-goers ONLY. They allow clear bags no larger than 12x6x12. I have purchased this one from Amazon and have taken it everywhere with me and love it!

Bethel Woods hosts many concerts during the summer. There is absolutely something in the lineup for everyone’s music tastes. The concerts take place rain or shine, so make sure you go prepared.

Evening at the Pavilion at Bethel Woods

Here is an example of past concerts:

  • The Black Crowes (2020)
  • Nickelback (2020)
  • RATT, Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, Skid Row, Slaughter (2020)
  • Steely Dan with Steve Winwood (2016)
  • Barenaked Ladies (2016)
  • An Evening with Bryan Adams (2015)
  • Train & The Fray with Matt Nathanson (2015)
  • Rascal Flatts with Scotty McCreery and RaeLynn (2015)
  • An Evening with James Taylor (2014)
  • Santana (2014)
  • The Temptations and the Four Tops (2014)

RELATED POSTS: Music at The Falcon in Marlboro, NY

The Pavilion at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

While looking into purchasing tickets for their concerts, there are two choices available:
> Pavilion Seating (Several Price Options)
> Lawn Seating (General Admission Fee)

I’ve attended three concerts, two with Pavilion Seats and the other with Lawn Seats. Each was great for the concert that I attended.

Note: Pavilion Seats towards the back are also subject to getting wet in case of a rainstorm. The rear of the Pavilion is open and does not provide any shelter during rainstorms.

Trust me, I found out the hard way.

Lawn seats at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Bethel Woods Concerts Lawn Seating

What can you bring to Bethel Woods Concerts?

The following items are permitted for Bethel Woods Concerts –
> Blankets
> Clear tote bags no bigger than 12″x6″x12″
> Small clutch purses
> Hand-Held umbrellas
> Ponchos
> Small hand-held camera
> Water (2 – 20 oz bottles that are new & factory-sealed)
> Food in 1 (one) Gallon-sized clear ziplock bag

Do Not Bring:
> Your own lawn chairs
> Large camera
> Selfie-sticks, etc

How are lawn seats at Bethel Woods Concerts?

Lawn seats are considered general admission. People are encouraged to arrive early if they want a lawn space closer to the Pavilion area.

Rental of Bethel Woods lawn chairs are available and should be reserved beforehand.

Because of the slope of the lawn area, only Bethel Woods lawn chairs are permitted in this area.

Bethel Woods Concerts vs. Other Music Venues

It may be quicker to get to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts than to other music venues in the tri-state area. Considering traffic, gas, tolls, parking fees, Bethel Woods is an economical choice.

  • The Music Concerts and Museum are good for everyone, including families with children (unless otherwise advertised)
  • Dining: There are several dining options at Bethel Woods (Music Cafe during the museum hours and a Pre-Concert Buffet on concert days)
  • Coach USA/Shortline offers bus service, during summer concert days, from NYC, NJ, and Middletown, NY
  • Big V Entertainment offers bus service, during summer concert days, from Monticello Casino
  • They allow tailgating before every summer concert event.
  • Parking: Parking is always free, but, if you prefer, there is an option to purchase Premium Parking for a fee. These premium spots, closer to the Pavilion entrance are paved and lit at night and often sell out quickly.
  • Concert Prices: Ticket prices vary from one event to another. Check their website for prices for each individual event/concert
  • Outdoor Concerts at the Pavilion occur during the warm weather months only and happen rain or shine

The Number 1 Complaint about Concerts at Bethel Woods

The NUMBER 1 complaint of people going to Concerts at Bethel Woods is the traffic that accumulates on the way out.

I stated before that Bethel, NY is a small town and there is one road in and one road out and that equals lots of traffic after concerts.

PRO-TIP:
In order to AVOID excessive traffic build-up after a concert, I suggest you leave during the encore performance. The acoustics are wonderful and you will still be able to hear the music on your way to the parking lot.

Why Bethel Woods Concerts are worth the price

Although concert tickets have gone up in price significantly, you can enjoy live music without Breaking the Bank.

Bethel Woods is very affordable, considering that they offer free parking and allow you to take in your own food.

What makes Bethel Woods Center of the Arts so special?

I didn’t think I would love live music more than I already had! 

I hope you have an amazing time if you ever decide to visit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. If visiting the Museum only, a concert only or a combination of the two, I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

I’m already planning my next trip up.

Plaque indicating the land that was the original site of the Woodstock Festival

The Original Site of the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair

The gate sectioning off the site of the Woodstock Festival
The gate that sections off the piece of land used for the Woodstock Festival in 1969
Sitting on the field in Bethel Woods
Sign at the top of the field of the site of the Woodstock Festival

With so many great music venues in the Hudson Valley, it is hard to choose one as a favorite.
Tell me your favorite music venue in the comments below!

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 Until the Next Adventure…

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Have you ever wondered about the story behind the 1969 Woodstock Festival and what that festival was like? Visit the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. Things to do in New York | Upstate New York

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About Author

Jackie is the HV blogger behind Hudson Valley Exposed, featuring the hottest things to do, places to see and weekend getaways. Get information from a local who is seeing it all! She lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley Region with her hubby, kids, and doggies.