Chronogram: Woodstock: The Spirit Survives
By Anne Pyburn Craig
On December 1, 2014
Woodstock’s journey as a Destination began with the dawn of the 20th century and the founding of Byrdcliffe, outpost of the Arts and Crafts movement that arose to prevent industrialization from crushing the human spirit. Maverick Concerts and the Woodstock Artists Association soon followed. “Imagine this building as the first of a number of buildings that shall serve as a sort of summer home for all the arts,” Maverick founder Hervey White told a New York Times reporter in 1916.
Fast forward to 2014: Nicolas Geeraerts is stoked. He and his partners, operating as Woodstock Commune, are spending somewhere between three and five million on their renovation of the Bearsville Theatre property, the legacy of legendary producer Albert Grossman. “I come from a background in high-end restaurants and hotels and I’m very excited to be able to revitalize a project with such great history,” he says. “Of course, the Hudson Valley is booming—it’s amazing what has been happening the last three to five years—and we hope to be part of that. And we’re trying not to culture-shock the local followers. We want to maintain the legacy; it’s a great legacy and a great local following. We only want to make it better.”
Besides long-overdue building renovations, there will be an overall signal boost. “Our goal is to bring in a big market to the amazing music that exists: live recordings, maybe a record label, streaming concerts, YouTube,” says Geeraerts. “On the food side, we want to do weekly farmers’ markets and work closely with local farmers and CIA chefs. We want to create a weekend getaway where people can go and enjoy great food and music and get a great culinary and musical education.”