Posted: Monday, 19 August 2013 4:45PM

More Than 1,000 Attend Richie Havens Memorial at Site of Woodstock Festival



Ralph Ackerman/Getty ImagesFans got the chance to say a final goodbye to Richie Havens on Sunday at a memorial celebration that was held at the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York.  The Times Herald-Record reports that more than 1,000 people attended the event at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which culminated with the scattering of the folk singer's ashes across the field that once was Max Yasgur's farm.

The tribute featured speeches and performances from Havens' friends, family and musical associates.  Among the celebrities who participated in the event were actors Danny Glover and Louis Gossett Jr., as well as Jose Feliciano and John Sebastian.

"His music changed me, like so many here, and got me through my life," Glover said about the impact Havens had on him.

Feliciano, one of the day's performers, lauded Havens for making him "feel important, and I was just a kid from the mountains of Puerto Rico."

Sebastian, who performed along with veteran blues artist John Hammond, shared some lighthearted words about the highlight of the memorial -- the spreading of Havens' ashes.

"We're just going to enjoy Richie's idea of how he wanted to check out," said the ex-Lovin' Spoonful frontman.  "The saying for the day is, don't get any on you."

Havens' daughter, Dhalia, also spoke at the event, and explained her family's decision to have the Woodstock site serve as her dad's final resting place.  "I feel he was most happy on [the Woodstock] stage out of all the places he performed in his life," she noted, "so we felt this is the place he wanted to be forever."

According to the Times Herald-Online, a small plane made two passes over the site before dropping Havens' ashes on a third pass.  The aircraft then flew once more over the field, tilting its wings in homage to the singer.

Havens, of course, was the first musician to take the stage at Woodstock, playing the song "Freedom," an improvisation based on the spiritual "Motherless Child."  The singer died this past April 22 after suffering a heart attack.  He was 72.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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