What’s better than one 50th anniversary celebration of the groundbreaking Woodstock Music & Arts Fair? How about two—one of which really, really wants you to know that it is *the official* one?
Woodstock 1969’s coproducer and cofounder Michael Lang announced on Wednesday that he is organizing Woodstock 50, a continuation of “the festival’s foundational intent of harmony and compassion.” The gathering, produced by Woodstock Ventures, will take place from Friday, Aug. 16 to Sunday, Aug. 18.
The announcement contained a barb directed at the Bethel Wood Music and Culture Festival, the other Woodstock 50th anniversary festival, announced in December 2018, calling Woodstock 50 “the only authorized commemoration.” The Bethel Wood Music and Culture Festival, on the other hand, is put on by the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA), Live Nation and INVNT.
While the Bethel Wood Music and Culture Festival will take place on the original event’s grounds, Woodstock 50 will be set across 1,000 acres of Greenfield at Watkins Glen International and the surrounding area. “The original site in Bethel is wonderful, but much too small for what we’re envisioning,” Lang notes.
The festival will boast over 60 of “the biggest names and emerging talent in rock, hip hop, pop and country,” per a press release. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Lang stated that new artists will likely pay homage to iconic headliners from Woodstock 1969, such as Janis Joplin, The Band, Jefferson Airplane and Joe Cocker: “It will be primarily contemporary talent, but the legacy acts will be represented and honored.”
Beyond the music, the festival will incorporate sustainability and advocacy as some of its key focuses, with nonprofits and other organizations onsite to educate the public. The grounds will also feature “neighborhoods,” highlighting a variety of art, from spoken word to comedy, and one-of-a-kind experiences.
Woodstock 50 is also hearkening back to its youth culture roots by offering a limited number of discounted pre-sale tickets to college students aged 18 to 25.
“The original festival in ‘69 was a reaction by the youth of the time to the causes we felt compelled to fight for—civil rights, women’s rights, and the antiwar movement, and it gave way to our mission to share peace, love and music,” Lang said, “Today, we’re experiencing similar disconnects in our country, and one thing we’ve learned is that music has the power to bring people together. So, it’s time to bring the Woodstock spirit back, get involved and make our voices heard.”
It’s clear that an incredible amount of manpower will go into the production of this event. Lang expressed his gratitude to all those who are assisting in the organization of Woodstock 50, saying in a statement, “I want to offer heartfelt thanks in advance to the State Police, Sheriff’s Department and the entire Schuyler County Administration, State Department of Health and of course the governor of this great state, which has embraced the Woodstock legacy.”
Additional Woodstock 50 details will be revealed in the coming weeks, including lineup and ticket information. In the meantime, refresh your memory of Woodstock-era performances with the below selections from the Paste archives.