Earlier this week, Live Nation and Bethel Woods Center for the Arts announced plans for a three-day event that will be held at the same time and location where the original Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, from August 16th-18th in 2019. The official event is being branded as Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, with the tagline reading, “celebrating the golden anniversary at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival” and will plan on featuring live music, TED-style talks, and special exhibits.
However, this Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration is not being organized by the promoters behind the original event. And there is, in fact, a second event being planned by local resident and co-founder of the original Woodstock, Michael Lang.
In response to the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival announcement, Lang and his team provided a statement about his “official anniversary” that will not take place at Bethel Woods.
“While the original site in Bethel remains close to our hearts, 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.”
Some 400,000 music fans and adventurous souls were estimated to have attended the original Woodstock, which was famously underprepared for the masses with a lack of water and food. Still, even with rain-drenched grounds and organizers being unprepared for the peaceful gathering that would assemble on the farmland in upstate New York, the event remains as a pivotal moment in music and cultural history in American entertainment.
In the next few weeks, Lang’s team promises that they will be announcing his plans for the “real Woodstock 50th Festival to bring back the much needed spirit and energy of the 1969 original.”
It seems as though Lang’s intentions are to bring back what was started in 1969 by honoring its roots, though nothing is official regarding lineup yet. Artists including Joan Baez; Santana; members of The Who and Grateful Dead; Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; Ten Years After; And Country Joe McDonald are just a few of the surviving performers who were at the 1969 event who could possibly return to perform again this summer.