Back to the Garden

by Alan Wechsler
Orange County Times Herald
June 23, 1998

Don't expect a mosh pit.
Don't expect mud.
Forget about nude bathing.
Bad acid? Not.

This isn't Woodstock. Not in name anyway. It's a Day in the Garden. It's the first planned event at the Hurd Road site since the big one in 1969. This time it's a family affair, with the biggest rock stars your teen-aged kid never heard of.

Tuesday, the names were finally announced for the show that begins Friday, Aug. 14. Names that include Pete Townsend, Lou Reed. Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell and Woodstock veterans Ten Years After and Richie Havens.

Each show begins at 11 a.m. with local bands, yet unannounced. A more contemporary rock line-up for Sunday, the third day, is expected to be announced in a week or so.

The price? $69.98 per day, plus whatever TicketMaster deems appropriate for its "applicable service charge."

"For the amount of talent," said Executive Producer Danny Socolof, "it's a terrific value."

This is the first concert held at the site since owner Alan Gerry bought it and 1,500 acres around it in 1996 and 1997. In April of last year, he announced his plans to build a large, music-orientated theme park.

But that's a dream that's a few years down the line. The event this summer is more of a shakedown cruise, a chance to bring people on the site, and to Sullivan County, on a smaller level. When the music begins, it will be the first organized concert on the site since 1969.

The name, by the way, comes from a line in the Joni Mitchell song, "Woodstock."

Reaction from locals upon hearing the announcement was mixed, ranging from excitement to apathy.

"I think the concert is great," said Dawn Chernow, a retail clerk in Monticello. "But you won't see many local people at the concerts at that price. The tickets are way too expensive."

Actually it's not as expensive as one might think. It is more than most local concerts, like $33 for John Fogerty at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center or Boyz II Men at the Orange County Fairgrounds ($30 and $25). But it's on par with what The Rolling Stones charged on their last tour, or what Smashing Pumpkins are asking for their upcoming show at Radio City Music Hall.

And it's less – much less – then The Eagles' record-breaking ticket prices of $125 on their 1994 reunion tour.

Besides, at the Day in the Garden, children under 12 get in for free.

"This is an opportunity for people to come out to one of the most beautiful sites in the world," Socolof said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

It's also an opportunity for some local people to earn some extra bucks. More than 700 temporary jobs are expected to be created in the next two months, said Mike DiTullo, vice-president of business and community development for organizers The Gerry Foundation and GF Entertainment.

"We've already run a couple of classified ads," he said.

The pay isn't great: around $6 an hour for such jobs as laborers, vendors, food servers, security guards and parking lot attendants. In addition, construction or other supervisors will make $10 per hour or more. Those interested in applying for the jobs can call the Sullivan Visitors Association at 1-800-882-CATS.

Don't expect this show to be a Woodstock clone. Traffic blockades and other security measures will make it pretty hard to sneak onto the field this year. But not that many of sneaking age may want to.

"If they changed the bands to Backstreet Boys, New Edition or Shaggy, me and my friends would go," said 18-year-old Heather Avery of Liberty.

That's fine with promoters, who want to lure the over-30s to the area: more likely to spend money in local restaurants and hotels.

But what about the veterans of the 1969 festival?

"I'm excited," said Duke Devlin, a Jeffersonville farm stand owner who moved up here after coming to the original festival.

"When we were cleaning the field, there was an excitement in the air: we'd do this again next year," he said. "Now, 29 years later, that dream is going to be fulfilled."

This time, he added, instead of dropping acid, they'll be taking antacid.

Three Days in the Garden:

Friday, Aug. 14: Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Ziggy Marley & the Melodymakers, Ten Years After and local bands.

Saturday, Aug. 15: Pete Townsend, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Richie Havens and local bands.

Sunday, Aug. 16: To be announced.

Tickets are $69.98 per day and can be purchased at TicketMaster. The music begins at 11 a.m.

A significant amount of information is available on the web at

Woodstock 1969 performers: Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Ravi Shankar, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mountain, John Sebastian, The Who, Canned Heat, Tim Hardin, Bert Sommer, The Grateful Dead, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Sly and the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Melanie, Ten Years After, Sweetwater, Sha-Na-Na, Incredible String Band, Country Joe and the Fish

1998 Day in the Garden performers: Pete Townshend, Joni Mitchell, Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Lou Reed, Richie Havens, Ziggy Marley, Ten Years After.

Printed from the official Joni Mitchell website. Permanent link:

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