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Havens' ashes to be spread over Woodstock site

April 26, 2013 at 9:47 PM

NEW YORK, April 26 (UPI) -- U.S. singer Richie Havens' ashes will be spread over the grounds that made him a defining voice and face of the Woodstock Festival, his family and manager said.

An informal public service, with recorded Havens music, will be held Monday at the City Winery restaurant and entertainment venue in New York's SoHo district, his daughters and manager Leslie Hawes said.

Havens, who died Monday at age 72 of a heart attack at his New Jersey home, was cremated Tuesday, they said in a letter that appeared on the City Winery website.

Havens' ashes were placed in a "beautiful stone pyramid urn" at his request and will be at the service for viewing, the letter said.

"Later in the summer they will be scattered across the field where the Woodstock Festival took place -- Max Yasgur's farm, now Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center," the letter said.

A spokesman for the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Bethel, N.Y., told the (Middletown, N.Y.) Times Herald-Record the center had not been contacted about the intentions for Havens' remains.

"Plans for a memorial concert are also under way," Havens' daughters and Hawes said.

Havens was the opening performer at the Aug. 15-18, 1969, Woodstock Music & Art Fair, billed as "An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music."

He was not supposed to open the festival -- he was scheduled to go fifth. But the opening folk-rock band Sweetwater from Los Angeles was stuck in traffic, while Havens and his guitarist and drummer had arrived by helicopter.

Havens was scheduled to play four songs, but ended up playing 10, including Beatles tunes, because other performers were also late.

His encore "Freedom" -- made up on the spot and blended with the spiritual "Motherless Child" -- embodied frustration with the status quo, and looming liberation, felt by young men and women during that tumultuous era, the Los Angeles Times said.

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