Bethel, New York

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Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, USA. The population has been estimated at 4,532 in 2007.[1]

The town received worldwide fame after it became the host of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, which was originally planned for Wallkill, New York, but was relocated to Bethel after Wallkill withdrew.

Contents

History

The first settlers arrived around 1795 near the present communities of Bethel and White Lake. The Town of Bethel was established in 1809 from the Town of Lumberland.

By the middle of the 19th century, a tourist industry began to grow. Bethel was home to numerous hotels that were part of the "Borscht Belt" and numerous sleepaway camps for most of the 20th century, including Camp Ma-Ho-Ge, Camp Chipinaw, and Camp Ranger – all on Silver Lake.

The Town of Bethel was brought to the world's attention in 1969 when nearly 500,000 people gathered at Max Yasgur's Farm for "Three Days of Peace and Music". The documentary made about Woodstock released in 1970 showed interviews with numerous Bethel residents, including Art Vassmer, co-owner of Vassmers General Store in Kauneonga Lake. A movie called "Taking Woodstock" was released in August 2009 based on the book of the same title by Elliot Tiber, whose parents owned the nearby El Monaco Motel in White Lake and played a pivotal role in bringing the Woodstock nation to Bethel.

In 2006, Bethel Woods opened on the original Woodstock site as a state-of-the-art performing arts venue. In early 2008, a multi-media Woodstock "interpretive" museum opened near the old Yasgur's Farm to complement the concert space, which hosted the New York Philharmonic, Wynton Marsalis, Diane Reeves, Chris Botti, the Goo Goo Dolls, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in its inaugural season. Highlights of the Center's 2007 season were performances by Lynyrd Skynyrd/Marshall Tucker Band, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens/Arlo Guthrie, Earth, Wind & Fire, and repeat performances of the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Pops Orchestra. 2008's season featured The New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Steely Dan, the Allman Brothers, and sold-out performances by the Jonas Brothers and the last concert of the season, featuring Heart, Journey, and Cheap Trick. The 2009 season was headlined by Brad Paisley and his band "The Drama Kings".

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