Woodstock @ 50

Julia Fishman
Courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Photo Courtesy of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Marist to Hold Conference on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Its Lasting Impact

March 5, 2019—Three days of peace and music were actually almost a decade in the making. This summer, Marist College will hold a conference, “1969: When Woodstock Changed the World,” examining the events that led to the iconic music festival. Marist’s conference, which will be held June 13-14, 2019, is the definitive—and perhaps only—academic conference on this key anniversary. All events are open to the public (registration required; see below for details).

“With the site of Woodstock essentially in our backyard, it is fitting for Marist to take the helm on an event like this,” said President David Yellen. “This conference curates key historical milestones to fully examine the circumstances that culminated in the unprecedented three-day concert that was the Woodstock Music Festival.”

The Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI) at Marist, which focuses on studying and interpreting the history and culture of the Hudson River Valley, is the lead organizer within the College. Working in collaboration with The Museum at Bethel Woods, site of the original event, and the New York State Museum, Office of State History, HRVI has organized a multi-day event that explores the social history of the transformative decade leading up to the Woodstock festival.

 “Looking at this historic event through the lens of social movements has allowed us to construct panels that explore the impact of that transformative decade, the 1960s, and its most memorable event, the Woodstock Music Festival,” noted Dr. Thomas Wermuth, Director of HRVI and Vice President of Academic Affairs.


A Series of Events with Wide Appeal

Careful effort was made to construct a conference that will appeal to a broad audience.

“This is not strictly a scholarly endeavor,” said Dr. James M. Johnson, Executive Director of HRVI. “The events planned do offer something for everyone: those who attended Woodstock, those who want to learn more about the 1960s, and anyone with an interest in the social movements of that time and how they impact life and politics today.”

The conference will feature a series of events that explore the social history of the tumultuous decade leading up to the Woodstock Festival.

Key events will include:

    – A by-registration only field trip to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, 
       including a visit to The Museum.
    – Panel discussions on: music in the ‘60s; social movements, including civil rights and black power, communal
       living, feminism, and the Vietnam War and peace movements.  
    – Keynote lectures by CNN Presidential Historian Dr. Douglas Brinkley of Rice University, author of the
       forthcoming book, American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race, and ‘60s historian Dr. David
       Farber, University of Kansas.
    – A Woodstock festival panel discussion moderated by Wade Lawrence, Museum Director at Bethel Woods,
       featuring music and a brief film screening.

All events are open to the public, but pre-registration is required. A full schedule of events and registration information can be found here.


Festivities Planned at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to tour the historic site and visit The Museum, featuring the 2019 Special Exhibit “We Are Golden—Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for a Peaceful Future.” This exhibit examines the festival and what the youth of 1969 wanted for the world, while placing it in the context of the positive societal impacts that followed, and seeks to provide inspiration for today’s youth, while asking what they want their legacy to be.



To register for events at Marist’s conference, please click here: Capacity for the Bethel Woods field trip on June 13 is very limited; early registration is encouraged. The field trip cost is $30.


About the Hudson River Valley Institute (HRVI)

The Hudson River Valley Institute is a Center of Excellence at Marist College that studies and promotes the history of the Hudson River Valley. The Institute provides information about the region’s culture, economy, environment, and educational resources through, public programming, and The Hudson River Valley Review, a biannual peer-reviewed journal covers all aspects of regional history. HRVI is supported by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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