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Patti Smith, Bob Dylan
via Wikimedia Commons

Patti Smith to play a socially-distanced show for Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday

The outdoor tribute is set to take place in Tivoli, New York this May

The poet, performer, and punk icon Patti Smith is set to stage a celebration for Bob Dylan’s upcoming 80th birthday, at an outdoor concert in Tivoli, New York. Specifically, Smith will pay tribute to the legendary folk musician at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park’s Spring Festival on May 22 (two days ahead of his actual birthday).

“Thrilled to have poet performer Patti Smith participate in our upcoming spring festival,” says Kaatsbaan Cultural Park in a statement posted to social media.

Last year, Patti Smith recalled that she hasn’t always been so friendly with Dylan, and once acted like a “jerk” toward him backstage. “He says, ‘Hey are there any poets in here?’” she says, remembering the meeting. “And I said, ‘I hate poetry!’ I acted like such a jerk. I don’t know what came over me. Like Sixteen Candles, when you like the boy but you don’t want the boy to know you like them.”

Nevertheless, the pair have since formed a longstanding relationship, with Smith performing at Dylan’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in 2016, in his absence.

The upcoming show at the Tivoli-based Spring Festival will see her perform alongside longtime bandmate Tony Shanahan, playing original songs and poetry (plus the obligatory Dylan covers) to a socially-distanced audience.

In late 2020, she also joined her lead guitarist Lenny Kaye to sing “People Have The Power” to voters on the streets of New York, and kicked off a residency with the digital art platform Circa on New Year’s Eve.

Besides being honoured with a performance by Patti Smith on his 80th birthday, Bob Dylan is the subject of an upcoming biopic, James Mangold’s Going Electric, in which he’ll be portrayed by Timothée Chalamet.