Woodstock and “Woodstock” are two different things. There’s the town, and there’s the festival. The leafy, picturesque Ulster County hamlet of roughly 5,000 had been well known as an arts colony decades before the Woodstock Festival—which was actually held 60 miles away in Bethel—made it iconic. (The “Bethel Festival” wouldn’t have been half as catchy.) The legendary music event was held from Aug. 15-18, 1969 and featured the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Today the town and the festival lore have all but morphed into one, and Woodstock honors the festival’s history by offering performances of “The Who’s Tommy” at the Woodstock Playhouse, in addition to other live music shows at various venues, such as the free Concert on the Green held every Saturday. Also check listings for the popular “Alice in Wonderland” at Woodstock’s Outdoor Elizabethan Stage, as part of the Woodstock Shakespeare Festival. And I found it fun to just get all 1969 and wander town, with its shops selling tie-dye and crystals and its funky eateries like Joshua’s.