A new summertime “tent pole” event, to use a current film industry buzzword, is about to be unveiled on Saturday, July 9: the inaugural “Spirit of Woodstock Celebration.” It’s envisioned as the first of a series of gala annual events to be held along the Hudson River, each celebrating film, music and art while benefiting the WFF. Each year’s gala will center around the presentation of the Spirit of Woodstock Award. The obvious choice for the first honoree is the elfin presence whose name is the first one most people would think of in connection with the original Woodstock Festival, other than the performers: prime organizer Michael Lang.
“We are excited to launch this annual series of celebrations on the Hudson,” says WFF co-founder and executive director Blaustein. “The River is the pulse of the Hudson Valley and connects us all. With that in mind, it is truly a privilege to honor Michael Lang, a longtime active WFF advisory board member, who was responsible for also connecting millions from all walks of life and all parts of the world” through his brainchild, the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Fair.
Handcrafted by local artisan Steve Heller of Fabulous Furniture, the first annual Spirit of Woodstock Award will be presented to Lang by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, best-known for her hard-hitting documentary about striking mineworkers, Harlan County, USA. The evening then continues with live music, entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, dinner, cocktails and the casual opportunity to mingle with musicians, actors, filmmakers, artists and art-lovers from both New York City and the Hudson Valley.
Musician Tracy Bonham, first catapulted to the spotlight with her 1996 hit “Mother Mother,” will be the featured performer of the evening, touting her new album Mast of Manhatta. Woodstock stalwart John Sebastian – singer/songwriter, harmonica-player extraordinaire and founder of the legendary Lovin’ Spoonful – has just been added to the lineup.
The July 9 event, which begins at 7 p.m., will be held at a magnificent penthouse loft in Poughkeepsie. Once an old piano factory, this newly renovated space features a rooftop entertainment area offering incredible panoramic views of the Hudson. Mary Giuliani Catering & Events will provide the comestibles.
Tickets to the Spirit of Woodstock Celebration range from $125 to $12,000 (the top-end package throws in a stay at a fabulous villa in Tortola, BVI). A round-trip Party Bus from Woodstock to Poughkeepsie will be provided for an additional $20. Guests should make their reservations early, as only a limited number of bus seats are available. The event is also within walking distance from the Poughkeepsie Metro North station.
For more information, call (845) 679-4265 or visit www.woodstockfilmfestival.com.