Santana Returns to Woodstock

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    NEWSLETTERS

    He got his musical start in the city of San Francisco, but he climbed to instant fame on the grounds of Woodstock.

    This weekend Carlos Santana, 62, returns to the site of the fabled festival for the first time since 1969.

    He's there for a weekend concert at a new arts pavilion just yards from the original stage where his band performed "Soul Sacrifice" during the "three days of peace and music" that helped define the end of the 1960s.

    "Santana is one of the artists who embody the spirit of the festival," said Shannon McSweeney, a spokeswoman for the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. "Him coming back is something special, I think, not only for us but for him."

    A little background here:  The late Bill Graham, who had been a Santana fan since he began performing on the streets of San Francisco, convinced Woodstock promoters to let Carlos play even though he did not have an album out.   Their set was one of the memorable moments of the festival and quickly became the stuff of legends. Their eleven-minute instrumental "Soul Sacrifice" in the Woodstock documentary and soundtrack pushed Santana's national popularity.

    The new 2,000-acre facility, in upstate New York's Sullivan County, is a performing arts center and museum with a 15,000-seat concert space. The Center includes the patch of land, once part of Max Yasgur's farm, that hosted the original Woodstock festival.

    This is the second time this month Santana has been in the news.  Last week, during a tour stop in Illinois, he proposed onstage to his girlfriend, drummer Cindy Blackman. She accepted.