Two weeks after an unofficial Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration was announced, Michael Lang — the original 1969 festival’s co-founder and co-producer — declared Wednesday morning that the official “Woodstock 50” event will take place Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen in Upstate New York. The announcement says the event “will give generations of fans the opportunity to join together in the festival’s foundational intent of harmony and compassion.” It stresses that this event is the only authorized commemoration of the 1969 festival and will feature an “amazing lineup” to be announced in the coming weeks.
While the unofficial celebration will take place at the original festival’s location, which is now the Bethel Woods amphitheater, the official one will be held 150 northwest of that location at the 1,000-acre Watkins Glen International race track, which has hosted two Phish festivals as well as the 1973 “Summer Jam,” which featured the Band, the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band.
“It’s time to put the speculation to rest and officially announce that Woodstock 50 is happening,” said Lang. “The original festival in ’69 was a reaction by the youth of the time to the causes we felt compelled to fight for – civil rights, women’s rights, and the antiwar movement, and it gave way to our mission to share peace, love and music. Today, we’re experiencing similar disconnects in our country, and one thing we’ve learned is that music has the power to bring people together. So, it’s time to bring the Woodstock spirit back, get involved and make our voices heard.”
The festival will have three main stages that will stage more than 60 of “the biggest names and emerging talent in rock, hip hop, pop and country,” the announcement says. “It will be primarily contemporary talent, but the legacy acts will be represented and honored,” said Lang.
“The original site in Bethel is wonderful, but much too small for what we’re envisioning,” said Lang. “Watkins Glen International gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock. It’s a beautiful location and an ideal site,” he concluded, noting that he felt “an immediate emotional connection to the land.” The 1,000-acre site will feature lodging availability for tents, RVs and camping.
The Woodstock 50th anniversary is being produced under license from Woodstock Ventures, which was founded by Lang with original festival co-founders Joel Rosenman and the late John Roberts; Artie Kornfeld, who co-produced the 1969 event, will be rejoining the team for Woodstock 50.