Dylan turns 75; Family celebration is May 29

bob-dylan-SQIt’s that time of year again. Flowers blooming, summer bearing down, and Bob Dylan is another year older. This year he turns 75 and in honor of that Family of Woodstock presents its 8th Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration at 8:30 p.m. Sunday May 29 at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock. (There’s a Champagne reception at 6:30 p.m. and doors to the concert open at 7:30 p.m.)

Musical Director of this year’s benefit Connor Kennedy, says “Bob Dylan is the most transformative American musician who has ever lived. He is boundary breaking. Every record reveals a different person, musically and thematically.”

A diverse lineup of great talent will be presenting Dylan’s music, many backed by Kennedy and his band Minstrel.


Hosted once again by Happy Traum, who played with Dylan in his Woodstock days and will also perform, the evening features everybody’s favorite musician Larry Campbell, Master of the Telecaster Arlen Roth, and Hall of Famer John Sebastian.

This year NeeNee Rushie (of The Big Takeover) and the great local duo, Kenny Siegel and Blueberry of Johnny Society, take the stage for the first time. New to the celebration are harpist Mikaela Davis and Jared Samuel of NYC’s Invisible Familiars who are, along with Bill Sims Jr., this year’s featured out of towners.

Also performing from deep in the Dylan song book are Marc Black, Jules Shear, and Robert Burke Warren; Jay Collins, Brian Hollander, Eric Redd, Doug Yoel and Carmen Senski.

“Extraordinary” surprise guests are also promised.

Through the generosity of the Bearsville Theater, Family’s Crisis Hotline and the John Herald Fund will receive all proceeds from ticket sales.

Dylan, of course, lived in Woodstock when Family of Woodstock was born, during those turbulent times in 1970. Formed by a group of volunteers, it was led by founding member Gail Varsi who told police, “If there’s a problem – call me – 679-2485.”  Family of Woodstock’s motto was then and remains: “Any problem under the sun.”

Always changing to meet the community’s needs, this spring marks the opening of Family’s newest service, TextMeBack, a crisis line using the hotline’s signature phone number for the growing segment of the population that prefers texting to calling. Texting provides the same 24 hour/365 day a year access to Family’s array of services as the phone hotline does.

The John Herald Fund, now in operation for ten years, helps musicians in the community who are in need. Named for the great singer/songwriter who passed away in 2005, the fund has paid bills for many local players who needed a hand.

Tickets are $100 for first row, including a pre-concert champagne reception and 5 raffle tickets for a chance to win an Elliott Landy photo; Golden Circle seating is $65 and includes the pre-concert champagne reception; $45 for floor and balcony reserved seating; and $25 for standing room.

Purchase tickets online at www.radiowoodstock.com/concerts; or, by phone, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 845-679-7600. For more information, see www.fowinc.org.