Welcome to Bearsville VIDEO
Welcome Back to Bearsville with John Sebastian
Bearsville Center is a 15 acre site, designed and built by legendary music impresario Albert Grossman in the 1960’s and 70’s Manager of Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Band and countless other remarkable artists. He chose Bearsville because of its pastoral setting alongside the banks of the Sawkill Creek. He saw Bearsville as a utopian home for his artists to live, write, Utopia record, and perform new music in a relaxed bucolic environment, just two hours from NYC. Albert was aided by John Storyk, the architect of acoustic spaces architect who famously designed Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in NYC.
The studios and record label thrived and were successful, even after Albert’s early and unexpected passing in 1986. Both enterprises have since closed. At the heart of the Center today stands Bearsville Theater, long enjoyed by musicians and music lovers who want to experience the sights and sounds that inspired some of music’s most important writers, singers and performers. Although the Theater opened in 1989, there followed more than 25 years of ownership changes, and the complex never fulfilled Albert’s complete vision.
In 2019 the social entrepreneur Lizzie Vann purchased the Center and began a wholesale renovation, rebuilding Bearsville back into a place for artist development – as Albert wanted it to be. The goal today is to encourage and support future generations of artists, in the same way that Albert saw the need for a whole-person approach to nurturing the creative spirit of his artists.The magical 400-seat theater and extensive lounge-bar pay homage to those who worked and lived in Bearsville and Woodstock, including exhibits, murals, photographs and artworks of an extensive range of artists*.
Utopia Soundstage and Studios, also part of Bearsville, were built by Albert for Todd Rundgren’s video productions. Today they house the production soundstage and offer rehearsal and recording facilities plus a private recording studio and creative offices.
Albert’s restaurants were frequented by Janis, The Band, REM, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, and many others, including the artists who recorded on his record label. Albert held a wake for Janis Joplin at The Bear Café after her early death in 1970. Two of those infamous restaurants still remain -The Little Bear, and former Bear Café (now the Bear Cantina) which both sit alongside the beautiful Sawkill Creek. Nancy’s Artisanal Café and the Utopia Tavern, both in the Peterson House, nestle around the bluestone patio and fire pit and also offer high quality food and drink.
Come and take a tour of Bearsville and the Bearsville Theater with our great friend and Woodstock legend, John Sebastian, and do drop in a see us, when you are next in town!
* Bob Dylan, The Band, Janis Joplin, Van Morrison, Todd Rundgren, John Sebastian, Happy & Artie Traum, Maria Muldaur, Jack de Johnette, Pat Metheny, Cindy Cashdollar, Jimi Hendrix, Odetta, Kate Pierson, The Woodstock Mountains Revue, David Bowie, Paul Butterfield, Donald Fagan and David Bowie.