Levon Helm honored with a memorial at his Woodstock, N.Y. home

People wait to board buses to go to a wake for musician Levon Helm at his home in Woodstock, N.Y., on April 26, 2012. AP

(CBS/AP) WOODSTOCK, N.Y. - By the busload, hundreds of friends and fans of Levon Helm traveled to his home Thursday to say goodbye to the influential singer and drummer for The Band, who died of cancer last week.

The public memorial was held at the Woodstock barn where Helm held his Saturday night Midnight Ramble concerts in New York's Hudson Valley. His closed casket was surrounded by flowers and flanked by his drum kit and a piano.

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Friends, neighbors and fans filed silently past the coffin, which was on the second floor of the barn and set against a backdrop of a family photo slideshow. Nearby, family members greeted visitors.

Mourners - a crowd of mostly middle-aged people with a smattering of aging hippies and a few young people - were quietly encouraged to keep the line moving. Some carried flowers, and a few pressed handkerchiefs to their faces .

"He was an icon but also the guy next door," said Al Caron of Woodstock as he waited outside the Woodstock Playhouse for one of the yellow school buses ferrying people to Helm's nearby home-studio.

"He played music on the village green," Caron said. "The Rambles were like a revival meeting. There was just a sense of euphoria from the minute you arrived at his home and he will be missed."

The Midnight Ramble concerts, which would sometimes go into the wee hours of the morning, would often feature musical guests. Concertgoers were encouraged to bring food for a casual pot luck dinner before the show.

After a private funeral Friday, Helm will be buried in Woodstock Cemetery next to Rick Danko, The Band's singer and bassist who died in 1999.

Helm was found to have throat cancer in 1998. He died April 19 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.