Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang has officially confirmed a three-day festival in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the 1969 legendary fest revolving around music and peace.
The festival, originally held in Bethel Woods, New York, will now be held in Watkins Glen from August 16 to 18. Lang’s event differs from the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, set to be held during the same time, which will be produced by Live Nation and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
“While the original site in Bethel remains close to our hearts, it no longer has the capacity to hold a real Woodstock Festival,” Lang said in a statement. “I’m delighted that Bethel Woods is doing events in the coming year to celebrate what we brought to life in 1969 and I encourage people to visit the museum and concert venue.”
While the official lineup for Woodstock 50 has not been announced yet, Lang told Rolling Stone it will be an “eclectic bill” featuring a variety of genres like rock, pop, and hip-hop, while also including some legacy bands that performed during the original event. Additionally, he said that some newer artists will take the stage, and there will be tribute performances in honor of acts like Janis Joplin and Joe Crocker.
“Having contemporary artists interpret that music would be a really interesting and exciting idea,” Lang said of the tribute performances. “We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.”
Woodstock 50 will follow Woodstock ’99, which Lang described as a “musical experience with no social significance.” He said the “MTV event” was just a giant party and looking back on it, he sees where things went wrong. Instead of allowing others to book artists, he’s booking many of the acts himself this time around. Additionally, he noted that the water situation was “ridiculous.” The ’99 fest ended with drug overdoses, sexual assault, riots, and fires on a “brutally-hot” day.
Lang wanted to keep the festival in New York, but needed 1,000 acres of land. He ended up choosing Watkins Glen, which has seen enormous crowds over the years; the one-day event featuring the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead, and the Band in 1973 brought in 600,000 attendees, and Phish’s Superball IX was held there in 2011. While the capacity hasn’t been revealed yet, Lang said it’ll likely be in the six figures.
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“Woodstock, in its original incarnation, was really about social change and activism,” Lang said. “And that’s a model that we’re bringing back to this festival. It’s a gathering for fun and for excitement and for experiences and to create community, but it’s also about instilling kind of an energy back into young people to make their voices heard, make their votes heard.”
The Woodstock 50 lineup will be announced and tickets will go on sale in February. Fans are speculating that acts like Santana, and Grateful Dead – who performed at the ’69 fest – could return to Woodstock this year. To stay updated on the festival, visit Woodstock.com.