WOODSTOCK, CT — Gov. Ned Lamont delivered on his promise to bring a celebration of Woodstock-era nostalgia to the Woodstock Fair this year, the 50th anniversary of the original event in Bethel, NY.
Lamont used personal funds to produce Friday’s four-hour Battle of the Bands on the annual fair’s opening day, distributing $17,000 in prize money, naming a Connecticut Band of the Year, and generating another $5,000 for charity through sales of tye-dyed T-shirts.
Organizers sold 125 shirts at $20 each, generating $2,500 that was matched by Lamont for a total of $5,000 for the Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group, according to its executive director, Anne Miller.
The governor made the most of the day, often getting up to dance with other fans of Woodstock-era music. Each of the five finalist bands played a 30-minute set consisting of songs performed during the original Woodstock concert. More than 65 bands entered the contest, according to Lamont spokesman Rob Blanchard.
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Last Licks, a Hartford-area band, won first place and took home the grand prize of $7,500 and the “Connecticut Band of the Year” title.
Second place and $5,000 went to the Hollister Thompson Band, followed by Among the Acres in third, taking home $2,500. The Balkun Brothers and Weird Sounds were fourth and fifth respectively and each won $1,000.
State Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, was among the performers Friday, wowing the audience with his rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s cover of the Star Spangled Banner
Logan wasn’t competing, however, and also served as one of the contest’s six judges along with Lamont, Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt, WINY radio co-owner and president Gary Osbrey, WFSB Channel 3’s Dennis House, and Connecticut Troubadour Nikita Waller.
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Lamont conceived the event and first mentioned it at a transition meeting at Eastern Connecticut State University in November, as his administration began to take shape.