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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Calendar > Arts and Culture

Woodstock ‘reunion' returning to Bethel

By Dan Hust - staff writer

By: Dan Hust | Democrat
Jeryl Abramson and her son, Zach Howard, were the only speakers at Monday's Bethel Planning Board public hearing about their planned Woodstock-themed “reunion” this coming August, for which they won approval.
WHITE LAKE — Yasgur Road Productions' annual Woodstock-themed “reunion” once again garnered its temporary camping permit for this year's 60-hour gathering, scheduled for August 11-13 on Max Yasgur's former farmstead in Bethel.
Though there were no public comments and the vote was unanimous, the Bethel Planning Board spent much of Monday's meeting resolving confusion over application documents which mixed the temporary camping info with that of a permanent seasonal campground property owner Jeryl Abramson is simultaneously seeking permission to build and operate.
“In order to renew a license, we have to base it on a plan we [previously] approved,” Planning Board Chairman Dan Gettel explained.
Abramson replied that she had been told to file a new application specifically because of the proposed permanent campground, but she agreed next year to keep her renewal request simple.
“I think there's a lot of ambiguity and crossover with those two things [the temporary and permanent camping], and we're going to straighten that out,” she affirmed.
Her son, Zach Howard, subsequently helped the board understand what is being proposed for this August, filling in missing info on maps they were viewing.

He seconded Abramson's contention that exact attendance figures are only estimates and could range from 800 to 1,200 people over the three days. Some may utilize the 235 camping sites, others may come just for the day.
“Really our limitation is on parking,” he explained of what the board agreed will be no more than 600 spaces. “... How many people show up in a car? That's another story.”
“I don't know if we've ever had a cutoff,” Abramson remarked, assuring that her property and crew are prepared for a maximum crowd, should it materialize.
“They said that for Woodstock, and look what happened there!” replied Planning Board member Dave Slater.
“We've never had a capacity issue,” assured Howard.
Concerned that there be enough port-a-johns (currently at 36) to handle the crowds, the board mandated Abramson and Howard disclose the amount of tickets sold a few days prior to the reunion.
“You can see how tickets are tracking,” noted Gettel, “and I think you can adjust by that.”
Even then, cautioned Howard, “it's going to be ballpark - it's not going to be exact.”
“There's that whole rush at the last minute,” added Abramson. “A range ... is really the best guesstimate I can give you. I'm not trying to be evasive about it. ... We can give you updates.”
And if more port-a-johns are necessary, more will be provided, she promised.
Despite past disagreements and that evening's confusion, the board appeared welcoming of the event, which will coincide with REO Speedwagon and Styx's concert at Bethel Woods (though Abramson will be providing live acts and stages on her property).
“I'm hoping you guys do well,” affirmed Slater, who asked many of the questions that evening.
Subsequently, the board gave its unanimous assent, albeit with the conditions that amplified music be allowed only between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m., that a 150-foot buffer be observed between Abramson's property and the neighboring Russell Farm, that liability insurance naming the town be obtained, that no fireworks or glass bottles or floating lanterns be permitted, and that all other required permits be gained.
That includes a noise permit yet to be secured from the town board.

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