You don’t have to hitch a ride to New York and crowd onto a farm with 400,000 people to enjoy the music and vibe of Woodstock.
Bring your blanket or lawn chair to Lewistock, a music festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Hufnagle Park.
Hosted by the Lewisburg Arts Council (LAC) and the Folk Justice Band, the music is free and open to the public. Proceeds from additional activities will benefit Friends of Music in the Park.
Coincidentally, the LAC is also celebrating its 50th year.
“The fact that this is also the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Lewisburg Arts Council is not just an auspicious coincidence,” said Geoff Schneider, bass guitar in the Folk Justice Band. “The year 1969 was tumultuous, and people were searching for ways to rebuild community. Nothing brings people together like a free music event. That’s why I wanted to organize this festival.”
The members of the Folk Justice Band grew up listening to the music of the 1960s, Schneider said, listing top performers like Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Santana, Jefferson Airplane and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
“These are timeless artists who reshaped music and provided the soundtrack to our lives,” Schneider said.
Three bands will take to the stage throughout the day.
“Ruby Throated Sparrow, led by local treasure Leo Armbruster, will start things off with folk music, just like the original Woodstock festival started. They’ll be playing Joan Baez, Country Joe and the Fish, and Crosby Stills Nash & Young, featuring beautiful harmonies and acoustic guitars,” Schneider said. “The Becky Blue Band will be doing an unbelievably good Janis Joplin set that must be seen to be believed.”
The Folk Justice Band will perform twice, with some special guests thrown in.
“Sara Kelley will help us do Jefferson Airplane justice,” Schneider said. “Ken Damilio will join us on congas for the Santana jams. Brian King will be channeling his hero, Jimi Hendrix. Steve Jordan’s powerful vocals capture the grit of John Fogerty and Roger Daltry. Brian Gockley will wow people with some beautiful ballads and harmonies. And Ethan Sheppard and I will hold down the groove.”
“So many people have heard of Woodstock, no matter what their age is, and it seems like such a rarity to have an entire day devoted to music,” said Kelley, member and former president of the LAC. “All three bands are very talented, and will really bring that familiar music to life.”
Food vendors and beer and wine tastings from local brewers and vineyards will enhance the pleasure. A Healing Arts area will include free yoga sessions with Laurel Limb Yoga and Clear Sphere Yoga, reiki, sacred stones and other practices. Participants can also enjoy face painting, ’60s costume photographs and a silent auction of Woodstock-related items, including a framed Woodstock poster from the Open Door Gallery. The LAC tent will sell 50th Anniversary T-shirts, Lewistock tie-dye bandannas and a very limited number of Lewistock tie-dye T-shirts.
“The late 1960s was such a pivotal time for Americans in so many ways,” Kelley said. “Personally, I think the freedom of expression and the more vocal desire for publicly declaring who you are were pretty radical in the 1960s, and now we can’t imagine life without that. That’s a pretty powerful inspiration.”
Through research, Kelley and fellow LAC member Jody Horn found a version of the Lewisburg Arts Council existing more than 100 years ago.
“So even in the early 20th century there was a group of locals who wanted to provide venues for performing and visual arts and to make them available to everyone,” Kelley said. “I’m still amazed that there was an opera house in this small town. That support is so clear when you walk through downtown: Two museums, three framing shops and galleries, a fantastic art supply store, an Art Deco theater, a regional theatre group at the old high school … That doesn’t include Bucknell or any of the music that happens regularly. The tributes to Steve Mitchell in recent weeks show how congenial and collaborative the local music scene is in a way I’ve not experienced in other places I’ve lived.”