National park in Vienna, Virginia, devoted to the performing arts. Originally called Wolf Trap Farm Park and named after a creek that runs through the property, it operates in partnership with the Wolf Park Foundation and is the only public park dedicated to the live performing arts in the United States. In 1971 the US Department of the Interior opened the park on a large tract of land 32 km west of Washington, DC. The property was originally acquired as a gift from Catherine Filene Shouse, who was the primary financier of the park’s original Filene Center, an amphitheater modeled after the performance shed in Saratoga Springs, New York. The amphitheater was completely destroyed by fire in April 1982, but rebuilt as a state-of-the-art venue during the summer of 1984, and is now able to accommodate an audience of 3800 and an additional 3100 on the surrounding lawns. In January 1982...
Some 400,000 fans attended this iconic music festival of the late 1960s. It was held from 15 August 1969 to 18 August 1969 on a dairy farm in the town of Bethel, New York, located around 40 miles southwest of Woodstock, New York, and around 100 miles northwest of New York City. Traffic jams, torrential rain, widespread use of psychedelic drugs, and disorganization by the event’s promoters provided a chaotic atmosphere for both concertgoers and performers. Documented in a hit movie and a soundtrack album that reached no.1 on the Billboard chart the following summer, Woodstock subsequently achieved mythic status as a generation-defining event. Performances by Jimi Hendrix (including a solo electric guitar version of the “Star Spangled Banner”), The Who (performing their rock opera, Tommy), and guitarist Carlos Santana (performing the 11-minute guitar jam, “Soul Sacrifice”) have become important parts of the rock canon. The festival was funded by the independently wealthy John Roberts and organized by head shop owner Michael Lang and associate Artie Kornfeld. Much of the logistics fell to a team borrowed from Bill Graham’s Fillmore East, the Manhattan rock venue. When 20,000 people arrived before the gates were slated to open, the promoters declared it a free festival, at the behest of Hugh Romney—the former nightclub comedian turned Merry Prankster and Hog Farmer known as Wavy Gravy—who emceed the festival and helped man the medical tent. Friday night it began to rain, causing a series of near-disasters, from a collapsing stage to exposed power-lines, but the performances went on. “You could feel the presence of invisible time travelers from the future who had come back to see it,” Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia said later. Acclaimed sets included Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin and the Kozmic Blues Band, and Sly and the Family Stone, as well as one of the first appearances by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Though she had opened for CSN&Y two days earlier and subsequently wrote a hit song about the event, Joni Mitchell did not perform. (Nor did Bob Dylan, who actually lived in nearby Woodstock.) The Who did not begin their set until 4 am, playing ...
Rita H. Mead
Concert series sponsored by the Worcester (Massachusetts) County Music Association, held annually from October to April in the city of Worcester. Musical conventions were held there from 1858: several hundred teachers and singers gathered to study, practise and perform selections from Handel and Haydn oratorios (following the example of the Boston Handel and Haydn Society). During the 1860s the number of concerts increased in imitation of English festivals, and Carl Zerrahn (conductor ...
revised by Jessica Payette
Artists’ colony and music festival. The colony, established according to specifications in the will of Spencer and Katrina Trask, hosted its first visiting artists in 1926. The Trasks amassed a fortune in the expansion of American railroads and devised plans for the future of their 400-acre estate near Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1899. The 55-room mansion houses up to 40 artists for visits spanning two to eight weeks and provides isolated studios to composers and choreographers. Elizabeth Ames (1885–1977), the executive director from Yaddo’s inception to 1969, extended invitations to numerous composers, including Aaron Copland, Roy Harris, and Virgil Thomson, before the formal application process commenced in the mid-1940s. Subsequent composers in residence have included Leonard Bernstein, Chou Wen-chung, David Del Tredici, Ned Rorem, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Copland campaigned for the establishment of an annual music festival; however, only nine Yaddo Music Festivals, all presented in the mansion’s 300-seat music room, were held sporadically from ...