Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
September 3, 2013 Issue
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Dan Hust | Democrat

Over 1,000 people attended the ceremony at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in honor of Richie Havens, a late singer and an icon in the history of Woodstock.

'Freedom' for the late Richie Havens

Story by Dan Hust
BETHEL — August 20, 2013 — An extraordinary memorial service for Woodstock legend Richie Havens was held Sunday at Bethel Woods, right on the field where Havens’ improvised “Freedom” became an unforgettable part of the 1969 festival.
A panoply of musical and film stars paid tribute to the late singer/songwriter, who died this past April. Speakers included acclaimed actors Danny Glover and Louis Gossett Jr. (who penned a song with Havens in the ’60s) and Woodstock organizers Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman, while singers included John Sebastian, John Hammond and Jose Feliciano.
Afterwards, a crowd of about 1,000 (including Havens’ family) gathered on the open field to watch a small plane scatter Havens’ ashes, per his wishes. Thereafter, a spontaneous musical celebration broke out, utilizing drums, tambourines, colorful dancers, and Havens’ famous “Freedom” song.
With people freely allowed to enter the field, the spirit of Woodstock literally echoed across Bethel Woods. It proved a fitting end to a life focused on inspiring people to joyfully sing and dance.
“I believe this very firmly: that Richie has not died,” said Feliciano. “Richie has just gone ‘to the other side’.”

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