Michael Lang produced the original Woodstock and the anniversary events in 1994 and 1999. He is planning an "official Woodstock 50 celebration".
Two festivals in upstate New York plan to commemorate the original Woodstock festival that took place in the summer of 1969. Get ready to be confused.
Before the new year we learned about the Bethel Woods Music And Culture Festival. The August 16-18 festival will take place in Bethel, NY on the original site of Woodstock in 1969. But now we know why they aren't calling it 'Woodstock'.
Now we have 74-year-old Michael Lang, still alive and kicking. Lang produced and promoted the original Woodstock concert as well as two of the most high-profile anniversary festivals - Woodstock '94 and Woodstock '99.
Lang spoke with Rolling Stone about what is being called 'Woodstock 50'. Here's what we know.
Woodstock 50 will happen August 16-18, competing directly with Bethel Woods.
The original site won't work for Lang's festival because of the way Bethel Woods was developed. Woodstock 50 will happen in the fields surrounding the Watkins Glen International racetrack about three hours west of Bethel. And it sounds like Woodstock 50 will be much bigger.
“[Bethel Woods are] good stewards of the original site and they built a beautiful performing arts pavilion,” says Lang. “But it’s a 15,000-seat shed. That’s not a Woodstock.”
Woodstock 50 plans to reveal the lineup when tickets go on sale next month. Lang says he's booked about 40 artists so far. “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 will encourage collaboration between modern and legacy artists and tributes to original Woodstock artists no longer with us.
Lang also wants to differentiate Woodstock 50 from the ill-fated Woodstock '99.
“Woodstock ’99 was just a musical experience with no social significance... It was just a big party. With this one, we’re going back to our roots and our original intent. And this time around, we’ll have control of everything.”