By Dan Hust
BETHEL May 9, 2003 Theres no news yet as to whether the Woodstock legend himself will return to the site of the famous concert, but it does look like Wavy Gravy the ice cream will be in great supply come this August in Bethel.
The owner of the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, the Gerry Foundation, announced Wednesday that famous ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerrys has chosen those 37.5 acres to host its 25th anniversary birthday bash and One World, One Heart concert on August 23 and 24.
They wanted to do a big splash, said Gerry Foundation spokesperson Glenn Pontier, explaining that GF was approached by Ben & Jerrys for the event. Their place in Vermont isnt big enough, and its not central [to the Northeast].
The lineup of musical acts has not been finalized, and Ben & Jerrys officials still need to get a mass gathering permit from the county (among other legal hurdles), but it seems all sides are go.
This is a major birthday party for us, said Ben & Jerrys Senior Public Relations Coordinator Lee Holden, who mentioned that the sites history, proximity to New York City and size were determining factors in locating the 12-year-old One World, One Heart concert series.
Its a beautiful location with a rich heritage, unique history and exciting future that parallels our own, added Chief Marketing Officer Walt Freese. It is also easily accessible to our many East Coast fans.
Although Holden indicated the primary emphasis of the festival would be on the companys 25th anniversary, the One World, One Heart festival would provide musical entertainment, food and activities for the whole family just like it has done for the previous 12 years.
Past musical acts have included such big names as Joan Osborne, Hootie and the Blowfish, the Spin Doctors, and Chuck Berry.
No alcohol has ever been allowed, and coolers, pets and camping will also be prohibited. Ben & Jerrys is leasing the site from the Gerry Foundation.
This will be the first time the festival will be held outside the companys home state of Vermont. Although Ben & Jerrys environmental and social philosophies dovetail with that of the original Woodstock festival, the company also no longer needs convention and lodging facilities for the shareholders meeting that used to occur simultaneously with the concerts. (Megacorporation Unilever purchased Ben & Jerrys a few years ago.)
So Woodstock, it seems, is the perfect fit.
The Ben & Jerrys festival is a wonderful, family-oriented activity with a reputation for great entertainment, a social conscience and delicious ice cream, said Gerry Foundation Executive Director Jonathan Drapkin. We are pleased to make the site available to Ben & Jerrys as we continue to refine our long-term building plans.
Those plans include a 17,500-seat performing arts facility, although for now GF officials are staying mum on when construction might begin. However, in addition to the Ben & Jerrys festival, there are plans to add a new farmers market on Saturday mornings from July 5 to August 16, along with the Sullivan Renaissance awards ceremony on August 10 and the popular Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday afternoons from August 31 to October 12.
Smack in the middle of all that will be Ben & Jerrys celebration, which is sure to draw tens of thousands to the Woodstock site.
This will not adversely affect our plans, said Pontier. I wouldnt draw any conclusions on when well break ground . . . [but] if you step back and look, were kind of growing things at all levels.
For more information (including how to be a vendor at the Ben & Jerrys event), call 1-800-BJ-FESTS, or log on to www.benjerry.com.