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Rumours start to swirl about Woodstock anniversary concert(s?)

While not the first of its kind, Woodstock was a legendary event even before the first notes were played.

Next August marks the 50th anniversary of the three days of peace, love and music shindig that drew thousands upon thousands to a muddy euphoria on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. Most anyone who was anyone at the time performed there, from Janis and Richie Havens to the Who and Joe Cocker and that epic Jimi Hendrix set.

Michael Lang, the organizer of the original Woodstock festival, confirmed to the Poughkeepsie Journal that he has “definite plans” for an anniversary concert, but added that it is “not a done deal yet. But it’s very close.”

He promised an announcement would be made soon.

Already there are speculations of what the 50th Woodstock anniversary festival would look like and who would be included.

If even part of the lineup suggested by Syracuse.com is to be believed, we’re likely looking at a multi-stage, genre-melding, multi-day event designed to have a smattering of everything, minus animated children’s bands.

“Artists allegedly approached include Daft Punk, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Ariana Grande, Coldplay, Phish, The Weeknd, Elton John, Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Pink, The Who, Santana, Zac Brown Band, Mumford & Sons and the Chainsmokers. Avicii was also included, but @TheFestiveOwl points out the images were from sponsorship proposals earlier this year, before the superstar DJ’s death,” the website notes.

Nothing’s been confirmed yet, of course, and it looks like the artist mentioned by the website and twitter account are part of something wholly separate from whatever Lang’s working on.

Separately, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, built on the site of the original concert, will honour and celebrate the anniversary throughout 2019 as well.

“At the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the historic site of the 1969 festival, we will make certain the golden anniversary is commemorated throughout the entire year of 2019 with activities, festivities, special exhibits and more,” the nonprofit organization says. But there’s nothing confirmed here yet either.

Remember, too, that there were two previous anniversary concerts. The one in 1994 included Nine Inch Nails, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Blind Melon, among others, and went off pretty well, despite being overpriced.

The one in 1999, however, was a disaster, despite a legendary performance from the Tragically Hip in which Canadian flags appeared out of nowhere. The ’99 concert included mud, of course, but also riots, reports of sexual assaults, fires, you name it. That’s what happens when a festival birthed from a bucolic dairy farm is moved to an air force base.

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 517 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

2 thoughts on “Rumours start to swirl about Woodstock anniversary concert(s?)

  • Why bother? The original vibes are lost forever. There is no mass youth movement loving Rock, not paying huge prices in advance but just showing up, no more real hippies, no more real peace and love, no more just being one with music and caring for each other. And no more rock bands who aren’t afraid of just going on stage and winging it. Oh and of course there will never be another Jimi Hendrix. Will Ariana Grande do a few covers from the Cheap Thrills LP? Why don’t like minded adults get together and see both Woodstock movies with all that entails.You can buy the 50th Anniversary vinyl release of any famous LP and enjoy the memories or experience it for the first time. But you can never again experience a memory like Woodstock.

  • Pingback: A Journal of Musical ThingsWoodstock at 50: Something's happening at Bethel Woods - A Journal of Musical Things

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