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‘Woodstock 50’ Music and Arts Festival Reveals Dates, Location

The organizers of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair announced on Jan. 9 the dates and location of the official 50th anniversary festival. Woodstock 50 will be held Aug. 16, 17 and 18, 2019 in Watkins Glen, NY. Though no artists or details have been revealed yet but the official website notes: “Artist and Ticket Information Coming Soon.”

In an interview with The New York Times, published Jan. 9, Michael Lang, who co-created Woodstock along with Artie Kornfeld, said: “Coachella’s got its thing, as does Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. But I think they’re all missing an opportunity to make a difference in the world. They’re all perfect places for social engagement and for fostering ideas, and I think that’s lost.

“We want this to be more than just coming to a concert,” he added. “And hopefully a lot of the bands will become part of this effort to get people to stand up and make themselves heard, to get and out vote. And if they don’t have a candidate that represents their feelings, to find one — or to run themselves.”

There will be three main stages for the performers. Lang expects to sell up to 100,000 three-day passes to the event. Classic rock fans may recall that the location in upstate New York is famous for previously rock festivals including a 1973 event that featured the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band and The Band.

On Dec. 27, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, site of Woodstock ’69 in Bethel, N.Y., announced plans to produce a three-day event on the identical weekend. 

“While the original site in Bethel remains close to our hearts,” Lang said in a prepared statement in late December, “it no longer has the capacity to hold a real Woodstock festival.

“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.”

Lang’s December statement noted further news will be shared in the coming weeks “for the real Woodstock 50th Festival to bring back the much needed spirit and energy of the 1969 original.”

On Dec. 19, Lang told the Poughkeepsie Journal in upstate New York that it won’t be happening on the hallowed ground where half a million flocked five decades ago. (Lang was also one of the co-promoters of anniversary concerts in 1994 and 1999.)

Lang, 74, told the newspaper that he hopes his event will also have an environmental theme: “We’re hoping to inspire people to speak up and get involved and get out and vote and help us save the planet,” he said. “We are in trouble and it seems like we’ve been brought back in time in a lot of ways. It’s eerie how similar a lot of things are to the way it was in the late ’60s. Lessons we thought we learned seem to be coming back, unlearned. The progress we learned in social justice seems to be going backwards.”

Syracuse.com, also based upstate, published an article in November in which Lang said that he’s already working on a lineup for his anniversary concert, in spite of the fact that there is no site tied to it yet. That article quoted The Festive Owl, a Twitter page devoted to festival news, as listing numerous potential stars—both legacy artists like Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Bon Jovi, Phish, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Elton John and Santana, and newer artists ranging from The Weeknd to Pink, Ariana Grande, Coldplay, The Chainsmokers and the Zac Brown Band—but again did not offer any specifics regarding dates or location.

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