Woodstock 50 festival confirmed for this summer

Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang has confirmed that a 50th-anniversary event will take place this year.

Lang exclusively told Rolling Stone the three-day Woodstock 50 festival will be coming to Watkins Glen in New York from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th August.

Lang says that unlike Woodstock ’94 and the disastrous Woodstock 1999, which marked the 25th and 30th anniversaries of Woodstock respectively, the event this summer will have a similar ethos as the legendary original festival.

“A lot of festivals these days are kind of cookie-cutter. Very few of them have any sort of social impact [and] that’s a wasted opportunity,” 74-year-old Lang said.

“Woodstock, in its original incarnation, was really about social change and activism 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 energy back into young people to make their voices heard, make their votes heard.”

Lang says he is looking for some “reunions” and “bands from the original Woodstock”, however, he insists the line-up will be diverse and feature acts both new and old.

Confirming he has already booked more than 40 bands, he said: “It’ll be an eclectic bill. It’ll be hip-hop and rock and some pop and some of the legacy bands from the original festival.”

He added there could be some “celebrations of artists from the original Woodstock”, explaining: “Having contemporary artists interpret (the music of the original Woodstock) would be a really interesting and exciting idea.

“We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.”

Woodstock 50 isn’t the only celebration of Woodstock taking place this year; The Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival in August takes place on the same site of the original Woodstock exactly half-a-century on.

For Lang, however, holding the event in Bethel wasn’t an option. Commenting on the former farm which was transformed into a 15,000-seat concert venue in 2006, Lang said: “They’re good stewards of the original site and they built a beautiful performing arts pavilion. But it’s a 15,000-seat shed. That’s not a Woodstock.”

Tickets for Woodstock 50 go on sale in February and the line-up details will be announced in the coming weeks and months.

Entrenched in rock and roll folklore, the original Woodstock featured performances from The Who, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Canned Heat, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead and many more.

Lang says he’s spoken to Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young individually about reforming for Woodstock 50 but called the situation “a mess.”

Roger Daltrey ruled The Who out of any Woodstock celebrations this summer, telling Billboard on Monday: “You can’t redo Woodstock because the stars of Woodstock were the audience.”

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