Shortly after 5pm on Friday, August 15, 1969, Richie Havens opened the Woodstock Music & Art Fair held on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York.

Almost to the day 44 years later, Havens’ ashes will be scattered–per his own wishes–across the field where the historic festival took place.

This Sunday (August 18), a Day of Song and Remembrance Honoring Richie Havens will take place on the site of the 1969 festival (which today is the site of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts). The event is free and open to the public; grounds open at 10am, and the ceremony will start at 3pm.

Numerous guest speakers, musicians, and fans will pay tribute to the soulful Havens, who died earlier this year (April 22) from a heart attack at age 72.

Speakers and musical performers include Danny Glover, Louis Gossett Jr, Woodstock Festival organizers Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman, musicians Jose Feliciano, John Hammond, John Sebastian, and more.

While tickets to the seated performance area are no longer available, those wishing to remember Havens are still welcome to attend. (Organizers note that supplemental sound will be run to the concert field so that everyone in attendance can hear, and that the aerial scattering of Richie’s ashes will be visible from the field.)

“Richie used to say a day never went by that he wasn’t asked about Woodstock, and he certainly understood its profound and indelible cultural impact,” said a spokesperson for Havens’ family. “As he said on the festival’s 40th anniversary, ‘Woodstock was both a peaceful protest and a global celebration. We came together communally to be heard and to be acknowledged.’ Regarding the decision to invite the public on August 18, there is really no question it’s what Richie would’ve wanted. His family understands and respects that he is very much beloved and missed by many.”

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– Carl Harp, 98.5 WNCX/Cleveland


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