Woodstock: "Official" 50th Anniversary Celebration

January 9, 2019
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The wait is over as Woodstock producer and co-founder Michael Lang says there will be an official 50th celebration of the music's most iconic festival.

Woodstock founder and co-producer Michael Lang officially announces Woodstock 50.

"This is the official announcement that Woodstock 50 is coming next August -- August 16th through 18th. It will be in New York State at Watkins Glen. It's a venue that's ideal for this kind of event. It's a thousand acres of greenfield with infrastructure and a musical history."

The Watkins Glen International Speedway was the site for Summer Jam, which once received the Guinness Book of World Records entry for the "largest audience at a pop festival" when an estimated 600,000 showed up to see The Allman Brothers Band, The Band and The Grateful Dead perform on July 28th, 1973.

Ticket information and the initial line-up of more than 60 acts for Woodstock 50 will be announced next month, but Lang says it will be worth the wait.

Woodstock founder and co-producer Michael Lang on the goal for the line-up of Woodstock 50. 

"You want bands to be there who people want to see, you know, who are sort of the big inspirational musical acts. But you also want people who are committed to social change. And, these days, it's a lot easier because most bands as it turns out are involved and do have their own charities and projects and points of view. So, it's gonna be a really amazing mix of some of the original acts, tributes to those acts, kind of unique performances. It's not an oldies show. This is a very contemporary line-up and it's probably the biggest sort of gathering of headline talent, I think, of any festival."

This will be the fourth official Woodstock festival following the first one in 1969, the 25th anniversary celebration in 1994, and the 30th in 1999. But instead of Lang working with his original partners, he has teamed with the folks behind Bonnaroo and theOutside Lands festivals.

Woodstock founder and co-producer Michael Lang on the model for Woodstock 50. 

"This one is really modeled after the original. It's kind of genesis is that it's a product of the times again. We're living through strange times. We're revisiting some of the issues that we thought we moved past like the Civil Rights movement and now we're into Black Lives Matter and the women's rights movement. You know, we have some things coming out of Washington and The White House that are so bizarre and so unbelievable and so we just thought it was time to sort of maybe try and re-energize people to get out there and make their voices heard."   

And Lang hopes the message will go forward after the three days.

Woodstock founder and co-producer Michael Lang on the goal and set-up for Woodstock 50. 

"We want this to have some real traction. We really want to see if we can help energize the future of our world. And we're creating three main stages and then these little neighborhoods, which are very highly curated areas with curated food and talent and entertainment. There'll be comedy, there'll be speakers, there'll be so much to do other than just, you know, sort of sit by main stage and soak up the amazing music. We want it to be a really kind of complete experience, which creates community."

In other words, as the festival's tagline says, "Bringing Peace, Love & Music Back to the Planet."

While there will be a celebration on the same weekend of the 1969 festival at The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which sits on the original site -- the former Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, New York -- Lang's event is official 50th anniversary celebration.

Woodstock founder and co-producer Michael Lang on the competing 50th anniversary Woodstock celebration on the original site in Bethel, New York. 

"You know, they're so limited in numbers that while we tried to find a way to incorporate it, it just didn't seem like it was feasible. But I wish them all the best. We love that place [and> it's in our hearts and I'm really delighted that they're doing things all summer to pay tribute to the original. So, you know, we'll have two events and some people will go there and, you know, I wish them well."

Like the three previous Woodstock festivals, the grounds of Watkins Glen will be available for camping, RVs, vans and more premium camping options.

For more details, go to Woodstock.com.