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Reliving 'Woodstock'

11 Mar, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Warner Home Video will release a lavish "Ultimate Collector’s Edition" release of seminal rock concert film Woodstock. The 1970 Oscar-winning documentary will be released on both standard DVD and Blu-ray Disc on June 9 (prebook May 5), just two months shy of the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

The event, held Aug. 15-18, 1969, saw a half-million people descend on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, N.Y., for three days of music from 32 performers, including Jimi Hendrix, the Jefferson Airplane, The Who, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Santana.

The concert’s cultural legacy — it is seen today as one of the defining moments of 1960s pop culture as well as a coda of sorts to the era’s idealism — was celebrated a year later in the film, directed by Michael Wadleigh and edited by Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker. It received an Academy Award for best documentary feature and has been deemed “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress.

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music features the 1994 director’s cut of the film, with a run time of more than four hours. In addition, the "Ultimate Collector’s Edition" contains two extra hours of rare performance footage, much of it never before seen.

“It’s an amazing package,” says Jeff Baker, the Warner EVP who is overseeing the film’s release. “To everyone who grew up in the 1960s, it’s a trip down memory lane. To everyone else, it’s a nostalgic time capsule from an era that truly changed American society, American culture, American life.”

The two extra hours of concert footage includes 18 new performances from 13 artists, including Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat, Joe Cocker. Five of them are from artists that played at Woodstock but never appeared in any film version. A third hour of bonus material includes a featurette gallery with interviews with Scorsese, producer Michael Lang, director Wadleigh and others who chronicle the making of the festival and the film.

Exclusive to the $69.99 Blu-ray Disc: a “Customize Your Own Woodstock Playlist” functionality and other special features like Media Center, My Commentary, and Live Community Screening.

Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music will be packaged in a gift box at $59.98, numbered as part of a limited run with such collectibles as a reprint of a Life magazine commemorative issue, a lucite lenticular display of festival photos, assorted memorabilia and an iron-on patch with the classic bird-and-guitar Woodstock emblem.

A simpler two-DVD set will also be available at $24.98.

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