Fifty years ago this month, an estimated 500,000 people made their way to the small farming community of Bethel, New York, to attend what promotional posters described at the time as “3 Days of Peace & Music.”
The farm hosting Woodstock was not equipped to handle the sheer amount of people. Attendees clogged the roads. There wasn’t enough food and only about 600 toilets. And it rained...a lot.
Yet the concert, with its expansive lineup of iconic rock acts, from Santana to The Grateful Dead, remains one of the most celebrated musical experiences of the last five decades.
Case in point: Several Woodstock events are being held in Tucson this weekend to mark the festival’s 50th anniversary.
Here is what’s in store.
The Rialto Theater, 318 E. Congress St., will honor the rock gods who made Woodstock possible with a trio of touring tribute bands, each celebrating a different ’60s act, this Friday. Creedence and Company will get things rolling with classic Creedence Clearwater Revival tracks. The Who Experience will follow, with Anthony Aquarius Mystery, a California-based Jimi Hendrix ensemble, providing the grand finale.
The Los Angeles Times described the Mystery’s lead guitarist Anthony Aquarius as sounding a lot like Jimi Hendrix, adding, “He looks like him too — right down to the lanky gait, bushy hair and flamboyantly colored clothes.”
The Rialto show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20 through rialtotheatre.com.
Across the street at Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St., the festivities take a more local approach, with 10 Tucson acts performing music by 10 Woodstock groups on the Congress plaza.
Miss Olivia and the Interlopers, Silver Cloud Express, and Pete Fine and Beyond Words are among the artists tapped to participate. Bands to be covered include Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Admission is $5. Proceeds from the 6 p.m. show will benefit the Southern Arizona Artist and Musicians Healthcare Alliance.
Have a Schnauzer that digs on Santana, Hot Tuna and Sha Na Na? Take him to Woofstock this Saturday, a canine-friendly Woodstock tribute concert to be held at Kino Sports Complex North Stadium, 2805 E. Ajo Way.
Not unlike Hotel Congress, Woofstock will feature a long list of local artists playing songs from an eclectic mix of Woodstock acts.
Among the scheduled performers: Veteran Tucson band Greyhound Soul covering Richie Havens, Ice-9 with songs from Canned Heat, and the Wayback Machine channeling the ghost of Jerry Garcia with a Grateful Dead set.
Food will be available on site, as will be a beer garden tent. The first band goes on at 6 p.m., and all well-behaved and vaccinated dogs are welcome to join their owners in the fun.
Tickets are $19.69. Proceeds benefit the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Visit hssaz.org/events/ for more information.
Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4679.