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Last Name Brewing to toast Woodstock at music fest

Who couldn’t use a little peace and love right about now? Well, we’re in luck: Inspired by the original 1969 Woodstock festival, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace and Music,” Last Name Brewing is hosting the Last Name Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 17 and 18.

The original Woodstock celebrates its 50th anniversary next weekend.

“We just wanted to mark the occasion, and more than that, just have a fun weekend at the brewery in August when a lot people are starting to focus on going back to school or going back to work,” said Last Name co-owner and Claremonter Andy Dale.

The family-friendly event includes food trucks, kid’s activities, games, and of course, lots of music. The Saturday, August 17 lineup includes Flower Pot, The Country Squires, Medicine Music Collective, Pride of Cucamonga and Groove Session. On Sunday, August 18, James Donaldson, Jonny Come Lately and Jerry and Friends will hit the stage. Doors open at noon both days, with music kicking off at 2 p.m. The event concludes at 11 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday.

First Street Gallery will also be on hand with an exhibition of its artists’ work, which will be available for purchase with proceeds benefitting the nonprofit.

Presale tickets are $12 and are available at Last Name Brewing, 2120 Porterfield Way, Upland, or at lastname69.bpt.me. Tickets at the door are $15, and kids 10 and under are free. More info is at lastnamebrewing.com or (909) 579-0032.

The original Woodstock event took place August 15 through August 18, 1969 in Bethel, New York.

“Quite honestly, we saw that coming up and just looked around to see what was happening in the area, and there was really nothing going on,” said Mr. Dale. “Nobody was celebrating it.”

Last Name booked a wide spectrum of talent for the celebration, from on-the-nose Grateful Dead tribute band Pride of Cucamonga performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, to young Latin-flavored rockabilly group Jonny Come Lately, on at 4 p.m. Sunday. 

“It’s updated, but still gives a nod back to the origins of the whole thing,” Mr. Dale said. “Even at the original Woodstock, Sha Na Na was playing, and you also had a number of new bands with their first performance. So we wanted to mix it up a bit.”

That they will. On Saturday the Country Squires will bring 1960s through the ‘80s  covers—featuring blistering guitarists Danny Ott and Brian Hall—to the fore at 3:30 p.m., and Groove Session will close things out at 9:30 with their “positive, movin’ groovin’ music.”

On Sunday, James Donaldson showcases his honeyed vocals at 2 p.m., with Jerry and Friends closing things out from 6 to 9 p.m., playing both original material and covers from the 1960s through the ‘90s.

Music festivals aren’t always family affairs, but this one is the exception. Activities for kids will be offered from 2 to 6 p.m. both days.

The festival will feature free or low-cost T-shirt tie-dye stations, chalk art, henna tattoos, spin art, games and snow cones. Festival goers are invited to bring their own shirts or other material to tie-dye.

“Our goal is to keep the activities fun and inexpensive for families so everyone can relax and enjoy the music and the day,” Mr. Dale said. “And maybe mom and dad can teach their young ones a little about the original Woodstock.”

Looking back 50 years, Woodstock clearly marks the end of American youth culture’s innocence.

It’s remembered equally by the stellar talent—The Band, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Sly and the Family Stone and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among many others—as it is by the organizational and natural calamities that befell it.

Promoters thought they might see 40,000 kids, but 400,000 showed up. Every aspect of the production ran wildly behind schedule. It rained, turning Max Yasgur’s farm into a massive mud bowl. Bathroom facilities were overrun and overflowing. And then they ran out of food.

It was, in a word, a catastrophe.

But the local community of Bethel, New York—which had been dead set against the festival—rose up and donated enough food to keep the kids fed, literally saving the event.

A community rose up among the mud, and hippie culture had what would turn out to be a final, glorious celebration, complete with babies born and legendary performances.

And for two days next week, Last Name Brewing will commemorate that weekend of peace, love and understanding.

“It’s going to be a fun weekend,” Mr. Dale said.

Presale tickets are $12 and are available at Last Name Brewing, 2120 Porterfield Way, Upland, or at lastname69.bpt.me. Day of show tickets are $15, and kids 10 and under are free. More information is at lastnamebrewing.com or (909) 579-0032.

—Mick Rhodes

mickrhodes@claremont-courier.com