November 22, 2013
The Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving!

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Ask just about anyone on planet earth what comes to mind when they hear the word "Woodstock" and they will most likely say one of three things: Peace, Love, or Music. Makes perfect sense -- especially since that's what the world-famous Woodstock Festival was all about back in '69.

Forget the fact that Woodstock never actually happened in Woodstock, but 43 miles southwest in Bethel, NY. Facts were never what Woodstock was about. Not 44 years ago, when Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin walked this earth. And not now.

Woodstock is about something else -- something less quantifiable than facts, but far more meaningful. Woodstock is about feeling -- a feeling rooted in the recognition that there is something more to experience, in life, than initially meets the eye.

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Peace and love were the first visible expressions of this feeling back in the 60's, but these days peace and love are morphing into something equally as significant -- and that is gratitude -- the spontaneous feeling of appreciation that rises in recognition that life is a gift.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, a mix of Woodstock's present day movers and shakers are getting together to create the next generation Woodstock Festival -- this one a bit smaller in attendance than the first (by about 399,700) but equally as inspired.

Enter the First Annual Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving.

The Brainchild of Evelyne Pouget and Marc Black, the November 30th gathering promises to be an extraordinary event -- a multimedia, intergenerational, non-denominational celebration of life taking place at the iconic Bearsville Theater.

Explains Marc Black, Chief Mover and Shaker of the event, "It may seem counter-intuitive, but the best way for us to deal with what's bothering us these days may be to pay attention to what's not bothering us. There's so much to be thankful for that we often ignore. If we simply train ourselves to notice and appreciate what we love, it just might grow."

And grow is the operational word for the Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving.

Thirty days ago, it was only an idea in the minds of Marc Black and One Voice Global Founder, Evelyne Pouget. Now? In the words of Otis Redding, "Like a snowball rolling down the side of a hill, it's growing..."

Headlining the celebration will be the ever growing Marc Black Band -- one of Woodstock's many local treasures -- a band that's been together since the 1970's in many different forms.

This incarnation includes the great pianist Warren Bernhardt (most recently with Simon & Garfunkel and Steely Dan), Happy Traum (world famous guitarist and folklorist), Amy Fradon (the chanteuse of the Hudson Valley and lead singer with Face the Music), Gary Kvistad (extraordinary percussionist and founder of Woodstock Chimes), Mike Esposito (original lead guitarist for America's first psychedelic band, the Blues Magoos), Don Davis (alto sax for the Microscopic Septet), and Eric Parker (drummer for Joe Cocker, Paul Butterfield and Stevie Winwood).

Two local elementary schools will also be participating -- Woodstock Elementary and the Highwoods School -- the next generation of young movers and shakers who will be launching the world premiere of their Alphabet of Gratitude.

Their artwork will be on display at the Woodstock Library where Marc will present a free concert for the kids at the Library on the afternoon of November 30 at 3:00 pm. And in the evening, some children from the upper grades at the Highwoods school will perform a song at the Bearsville Theater celebration.

Additionally, there will be brief presentations from local luminaries and leaders in various faith traditions, an invocation from a Lama at the KTD Monastery, and lots of dancing, laughing, and other assorted expressions of gratitude.

Twenty percent of all proceeds from the $25 ticket price will be donated to Family of Woodstock, the town's longstanding social service organization -- an organization that was founded in 1970, just months after original Woodstock Festival in.

In case you're wondering, no mud is expected, though, word has it, a few surprises are in store.

This will not be the last Woodstock Festival of Thanksgiving if Marc Black and Evelyne Pouget have anything to do with it. Their intention? For this to be the beginning of a long and glorious tradition -- both locally and around the world.

"We've just planted the seed," explains Marc. "This could easily take off in other cities. The time is right to celebrate the power of gratitude -- not just in our family gatherings, but in our communities via music, dance, and art.

Intrigued? Curious? Psyched? If you want to learn more about how to launch your own Festival of Thanksgiving, feel free to contact Marc Black -- marckblackmusic@gmail.com. Marc will be happy to share what he's learned about producing these kind of gratitude-infused events.

Buy tickets here
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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at November 22, 2013 09:10 PM

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