Have you ever wondered about the story behind the 1969 Woodstock Festival? Have you ever visited Bethel Woods Center for the Arts?
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.
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.
A Visit to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Essential Tips for enjoying the day and/or evening at Bethel Woods:
→ 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.
→ Make sure to purchase Premium Parking tickets AHEAD OF TIME. They often sell out (if applicable for your visit). It’s an extra expense but will be convenient, especially after an evening of musical fun.
→ 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 rain storm)
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.
This not-for-profit performing arts center and museum hosts an array of musical concerts and festivals throughout the year.
Walking on the grounds of the Historic 1969 Woodstock Festival, I was elated to see that in, February 2017, the site had been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Such an exciting time for Bethel Woods and the Woodstock Festival Site and Music History!
In addition to hosting fantastic musical acts and concerts each summer, Bethel Woods also houses a beautiful museum documenting the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
In June 2016, my husband bought me tickets to see Journey and the Doobie Brothers for a birthday present.
All I can say is, “Wow”! I was impressed because Bethel Woods is not only beautiful, and, equally important, clean and so well organized, I was impressed from the beginning of my visit to the end.
Arriving at Bethel Woods Center
During my visits, I entered through the West Shore Road Entrance and was able to see The “Woodstock Festival Field” from the road.
It was emotional to see people walking towards the field and being mesmerized by the field itself.
I’m sure they 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.
During my second visit in September 2016, I made it a point to arrive early in order to visit ‘The Museum‘. Surprisingly, I was able to visit the museum for a discounted price, because I had a ticket for that evening’s concert.
I say that’s a Win-Win!
Entrance to ‘The Museum at Bethel Woods‘ is discounted for those holding tickets to an evening concert on the same day of the visit.
My third visit in the Summer of 2017 was no less disappointing. I saw Cyndi Lauper and Sir Rod Stewart. Talk about bringing back childhood memories. It was definitely a magical evening!
While waiting to see two of the most iconic musicians of my generation, I felt like a kid again. I was humming their songs the whole drive up to Bethel Woods and while waiting to enter the Concert Pavilion.
Entering Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Walking onto the property that houses the Museum, Box Office and Gift Shop is like stepping back in time. The grounds and the main building are beautiful!
During my visit the previous year, I had more time and I visited the Museum at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
This time, since I didn’t plan my time well and was caught in traffic for some time, I was only able to briefly walk around and grab a bite to eat at their onsite cafe before the concert started.
First Thing I learned from my visits:
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.
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 string collection of print material.
They also have several video installations that take you back to that famous weekend and offer an abundance of information regarding the Woodstock Festival.
And who doesn’t want to see the ‘Flower Power’ Woodstock bus? ☮️
Second Thing I Learned from my visits:
The Venue is not only about Country Music.
Bethel Woods hosts many concerts during the summer, for all types of Music Lovers. There is absolutely something in the lineup for everyone’s music tastes:
Here is an example of past concerts:
- Zac Brown Band (2016)
- 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)
Third Thing I Learned from my visits:
It may be quicker to get to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts than to other music venues in the area.
A Few Things to know before visiting ‘Bethel Woods Center for the Arts’:
- The Music Concerts and Museum are good for everyone, including families with children
- 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.
- Concert Prices: Ticket prices vary from event to event. Check their website for prices for each individual event/concert
- Outdoor Concerts at the Pavilion occur during the warm weather months only
- Museum Entry: At the time of this blog post, the entrance fee was $15 (adult)/$11 (ages 8-17)/$6 (ages 3-7)/Free (children under age 3). Half price admission is offered during summer concert days.
Fourth Thing I Learned from my visits:
You have an option for enjoying 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.
Fifth Thing I Learned from my visits:
I didn’t think I would love 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.
Want to read another post about a great music venue? Click the link to read:
Where to Get Your Music Fix in Ulster County
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
200 Hurd Road
Bethel, NY 12720