The Horizon Stage at Bethel Woods Spotlights Emerging Artists

Adobe Stock / kohanova1991

The Horizon Stage at the Bethel Woods Center of the Arts is where you’ll discover your next favorite artist. The new showcase aims to “support the next generation of artists.”

Looking back on the lineup of performers at the 1969 Woodstock music festival, it’s hard to believe that so many prodigious musicians congregated for a single event. Legendary acts like The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead—just to name a few—helped turn a bacchanalian August weekend into a cultural phenomenon that would define a generation.

It’s also hard to believe, in retrospect, that many of the artists who graced the stage at Yasgur’s farm were little-known in 1969. In this spirit, the Bethel Woods Center of the Arts—which is located on the site of the ’69 festival—has introduced The Horizon Stage, a showcase for emerging artists.

“Not every performer at Woodstock was a household name in 1969,” says Eric Frances, CEO of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. “Having the opportunity to play the festival launched the careers of many musicians. It’s in our DNA to support the next generation of artists, and what better way to get eyes and ears on talent than giving them a stage with thousands of people passing by.”

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The new stage is located just beyond the main gates at Bethel Woods, and the hour-long sets typically occur 90 minutes before a concert at the Pavilion (that’s the venue’s mainstage). Patrons with a ticket for a show at the Pavilion are automatically granted access to performances at The Horizon Stage, meaning ticketholders get more bang for their buck.

While the opportunity isn’t exclusive to artists from the Hudson Valley, several local acts have already performed on The Horizon Stage this summer, including The Pearl River School of Irish Music and The Bergkamp Brothers.

For up-and-coming musicians, the exposure this opportunity affords is major, and the historical significance of the site makes performing at Bethel even more special. “We’re so honored to perform on the Horizon Stage in its inaugural year at Bethel Woods,” says the Valley-based group The Heartstrings Project, who kicked off the program over Memorial Day weekend.

You can still catch two sets at The Horizon Stage this concert season. Multi-instrumentalist Jessica Lynn will perform on Sunday, August 14, before the Backroads Blues Festival with Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The soulful trio known as The Electric Chords will conclude The Horizon Stage’s first season on Saturday, August 20, preceding Phil Lesh & The Midnight Ramble Band.

Tickets for these performances are available online, but be sure to snag yours before they sell out!

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Related: A Janis Joplin Biography Offers a Look Into the Singer’s Life and Music

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