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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Historically, trying to recreate Woodstock has been a disaster.
In 1999, a concert in Rome, NY to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the famed 1969 musical festival devolved into a now-infamous disgrace due to a lack of water, widespread reports of violence, and musical acts like Limp Bizkit, ICP and Kid Rock performing the music of Limp Bizkit, ICP and Kid Rock. This year, there was supposed to be a fiftieth anniversary celebration in Columbia, MD, but legal issues, loss of investors, and comparisons to the famed Fyre Festival led to the plug being pulled on the whole idea.
The point being, when Dover librarian Angie Howes decided to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock with Doverstock, an all-day music festival with acts designed to mimic the type of music they played in 1969, there were lots of ways it could have gone wrong.
Instead, it was a nice, family-friendly day of good music (featuring the work of Jordan Renzi, Monica Rizzio, and Brick Park), good food and good company.
Howes explained that when she started at The Dover Library, there was a lack of musical programming, so she thought it would be fun to host some music in commemoration of the event.
“I started here in December, and they didn’t really have many music programs when I got here,” she said. “I knew the 50th anniversary of Woodstock was coming up, so I thought it would be a great addition to our summer programming. We planned it for a couple days after the original Woodstock took place, and it happened to be a day all three of our bands were free. The weather turned out beautiful, so everything just happened to fall into place. It’s a nice chance for everyone in Dover to come and celebrate the end of summer together.”
Because this crowd featured far more young children than the original Woodstock, Howes made sure the kids had something to do when they began to get fidgety. There was cornhole, hula hoops, horseshoes, toy giveaways, and a popcorn machine, in case the young ones got hungry and didn’t want the food from the food truck.
Still, anything trying to celebrate Woodstock is going to be about the music. While there was no library program to teach kids about the historical significance of Woodstock, Howes made sure that the musical performances reflected those of the original festival.
“We didn’t really have a program to teach the kids about the festival,” she explained. “It’s more just to get the feel of the original Woodstock, so we’ve got the same kind of music they had - folk, country and rock. And then the casual all-day affair - listening to music, having fun with friends, good food. It’s more education via experience.”
There may not be any documentaries about Doverstock decades from now, but it was a music festival where everybody had fun, nobody got hurt, and everyone left happy - which is more than can be said about most Woodstock anniversary concerts.