Richie Havens' ashes headed to 1969 Woodstock site

Richie Havens plays at the opening night ceremony during the 61st Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 1, 2008.
AP Photo/Jeff Christensen

The ashes of Richie Havens will be scattered across the site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival on the anniversary of the final day of the concert he opened with a nearly three-hour performance.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the music venue built on the Woodstock site in New York's Sullivan County, announced Tuesday that a musical tribute to the folk singer and guitarist will be held Aug. 18. That's the 44th anniversary of the final day of the three-day concert that drew more than 400,000 people to Max Yasgur's farm.

Havens, who died in April of a heart attack at age 72, was Woodstock's first performer after massive traffic jams kept the scheduled opening acts from showing up on time. His performance of "Freedom" became a signature moment of the concert.

Havens performed at Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration in 1993. He released more than 25 albums, including his most recent, 2008's "Nobody Left to Crown."

"I really sing songs that move me," he said in an interview with The Denver Post. "I'm not in show business; I'm in the communications business. That's what it's about for me."