The organizers of a 50th Woodstock Festival reunion could not get their act together, but an all-star cast of local musicians will put on a Western New York Woodstock performance, beginning at 7 p.m. Saturday at the River Fest Park, 249 Ohio St.
Buffalo Music Hall of Fame member Doug Yeomans and Eric Crittenden, keyboard player and leader of Critt’s Juke Joint, will be the musical directors of the event, featuring songs from Woodstock favorites Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Santana, Credence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens and others.
One of the show’s organizers, Bob McLennan of the Buffalo Music Coalition, was able to lend some insight into what happened at the original Woodstock in August 1969, a concert that attracted some 500,000 people to the little town of Bethel, N.Y., and became the most famous rock music festival of all time.
"I was at Woodstock in 1969 and for a lot of people of all ages, even younger people today, rock music from the ‘60s is the center of their musical tastes,” McLennan said. "I love all kinds of music, but the music of Woodstock continues to be a powerful, emotional memory, and most of that weekend’s music has aged very well.”
He added the idea behind the original event “wasn’t just the music.”
“Love is better than hate. Peace is better than war. Toleration, acceptance, patience, community, brotherhood are what we need right now,” McLennan said. “We’re planning on a day of peace, love and music along the Buffalo waterfront on Saturday."
Performers, in order of appearance, will include Preach Freedom, Piri Rodriguez, Anthony Aversa, Ed Croft, Pete Holguuin, Ron Davis, Jimmy Ehinger, Marty Peters, Buck Quigley, David Miller, Dan Delano, Mark Norris with the Irving Klaws, Sue Kincaid, Jerry Hall, Joe Head, Paul O’Keefe, Cathy Carfagna, Damone A-Miracle Jackson, George Puleo, Steve Davis, Andy Paladino, Jay Moynihan, Blaise Mercedes, Jeff Miers, Terry Sullivan, Dave Pressley and Grace Lougan.
Guitarist Yeomans has been the musical director of the popular “Last Waltz” shows put on by the Sportsmen’s Americana Music Foundation. He said he and Crittenden enjoyed putting together a Woodstock roster that includes many of the region’s best young musicians.
“Fifty years later we’re celebrating the music of Woodstock with young musicians who are starting on their own musical journeys,” Yeomans said. “It shows how much the music transcends the generations.”
Just as the original Woodstock did, WNY Woodstock will begin with the music of Havens, and the songs of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young will complete the first set. The second set will feature songs from Joplin, the Who, Santana, Hendrix and others.
Tickets are $10 presale, available at Flying Bison Brewery and Eventbrite.com. They will cost $15 at the door, with gates opening at 5:30 p.m.
Further information about the Buffalo event is available at the Buffalo Music Coalition Facebook page.