What percentage of your business or personal income comes from Bethel Woods?
Roughly 20% of my yearly photography-related income comes directly from documenting events at Bethel Woods. People recognize that the images they see are typically ones that I have taken, and that has helped me become known as one of the top wedding/portrait photographers in the Hudson Valley. The other 80% of my photo-related income was completely wiped out, as the weddings and events that were on my calendar were also either cancelled or postponed into 2021 or later.
If you lost income, what impact did that have on you or others around you?
I am fortunate in the fact that photography is my second income. The result is that the impact of the missed income from photography made a relatively minimal hit for my personal situation. Friends of mine that derive their income solely from photography have had it much worse. Friends that are tour photographers, out on the road with artists as they tour, have been completely shut out of their income stream. In the big picture, I am very fortunate.
Did a year without Bethel Woods concerts have a personal impact on you?
Personally, I miss the heck out of covering live music at Bethel Woods. I miss the excitement in the faces of the attendees. I miss seeing all of my stagehand friends on show days, often focused like lasers to pull off a show that they are rigging for the first and only time as the clock runs down. I miss the smell of the kettle corn at the top of the hill. I miss the roar of the crowd when the headliner comes on. I miss the sight of all of the lawn chairs sitting solo on the lawn at the end of the night. I even miss the taillights leaving the parking lots. There is so much to miss, but at the same time, there is so much to be thankful for. The spirit of Woodstock at Bethel Woods certainly lives on and will be there to welcome the fans when the music returns.
There is so much to miss, but at the same time, there is so much to be thankful for. The spirit of Woodstock at Bethel Woods certainly lives on and will be there to welcome the fans when the music returns.
A photo of New York Philharmonic by Kevin Ferguson during our inaugural night: July 1, 2006.
TEACHING ARTIST | Kali Seastrand
This year was the first year that singer-songwriter Kali Seastrand of Fallsburg, NY, was slated to bring her talent and vision to Bethel Woods as a Teaching Artist in the Center’s Museum Education and Creative programs. During Explore the ‘60s, she would serve as a guide for local and regional schools through the Museum, discussing the events that preceded the Woodstock festival and the weekend that changed the world—apropos for a lover of the flower power sound and style. During a summer session of P.L.A.Y.—Peace. Love. Arts. You!—Kali’s melodic voice would be a guide as students explored music and movement. This was not the year that allowed Kali to do these things. But as circumstance would have it, she was given the opportunity to perform on the historic grounds at a socially-distant dinner, on Woodstock Anniversary Weekend no less. For a local young artist who grew up aware of the reverberations of Woodstock and Bethel Woods, this was nothing short of notable. “When I was 15, my class at Fallsburg High took a trip to see the new Museum at Bethel Woods,” Kali, now 23, wrote. “What a way to come full circle to get to perform.” As Kali plucked her Appalachian dulcimer, she delighted guests with her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” reminding all how these historic grounds, despite hardship and circumstance, have the power to unite, provide opportunity, and create a positive impact.
Each year, Bethel Woods operates at budget shortfall in excess of $4 million dollars. This deficit is balanced by the generosity of our donors, most notably the Gerry Family. In 2020, the impact of COVID negatively affected our day-to-day ability to generate revenue, causing our budget shortfall to surge to more than $7 million dollars. We cannot thank our supporters enough for their continued efforts to assist us through this crisis.
The economic effect of Bethel Woods on the region and New York State has always been significant - a byproduct of our mission. According to AKRF Inc., since inception, Bethel Woods is responsible for more than $639 million dollars of economic output in New York state. The impact of COVID on Bethel Woods consequently influenced our ability to welcome visitors, generate jobs, payroll, and related taxes. The harsh realities of 2020 in comparison to 2019 are illustrated here.
These are the impacts we will continue to rise above over the next several years, again, with a little help from our friends.
*Estimated from the U.S. Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a Department of Commerce agency that publishes multipliers for each major industry classification and state.