A 50th Anniversary Woodstock Festival has been confirmed!

music news 10/01/2019

Woodstock is one of the most well-known music festivals to date. This August marks 50 years since the famed festival had attracted over half a million attendees.

To celebrate one of the most significant historical music festivals, original event founder, Michael Lang as confirmed that the three-day festival will be held in August this year. 

But [Bethel Farm] is a 15,000-seat shed. That’s not a Woodstock.

Woodstock 2019 will have a new venue at Watkins Glen, New York and shares the same dates from 16th-18th August. Great timing to check out Air NZ's New Year sale for flights now to start planning!

Since 2007, the original Bethel farm has been transformed into a 15,000 seat concert venue, called Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, was not ideal for Woodstock this year. “They’re good stewards of the original site and they built a beautiful performing arts pavilion, but it’s a 15,000-seat shed. That’s not a Woodstock,” says Lang.

An aerial shot of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

The first lineup announcement is due in February. Lang tells Rolling Stone, "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."

Lang claims the important music festival "in its original incarnation, was really about social change and activism. That’s a model that we’re bringing back to this festival". He adds, "It’s a gathering for fun and for excitement and for experiences and to create community, but it’s also about instilling kind of energy back into young people to make their voices heard, make their votes heard."

Original 1969 Woodstock poster

Billed as "3 Days of Peace & Music", Woodstock 1969 featured huge acts like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Ten Years After, John Sebastian, Joan Baez, Joe Cocker, Country Joe and the Fish, The Band, Ten Years After, Johnny Winter, Paul Butterfield Blues Band and many more.

“We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.” Lang has mentioned that modern bands will stage "celebrations of artists from the original Woodstock", most likely to tribute legendary performers Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and more.

When asked upon reuniting bands from the original Woodstock such as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Lang brushed off the idea saying "it was a mess", claiming that he had already talked to them individually.

Unlike most music festivals, Lang wants people of all ages to attend. “I want it to be multi-generational,” he hopes. “Woodstock ’94 was a nice mix of young and old and that’s kind of what we’re going for here.”

Lang also swears that he has found a solution to the filthy, overflowing portaloos, a common flaw for every music festival. “There’s a new dimension in portable toilets now,” he says.

“They are clean and airy and sizeable. They also don’t get pumped during the event, so you don’t have these wagons running around smelling everywhere. And then the end product is fertiliser.”

Over 186,000 tickets were sold on the first day, the flimsy fences and ticket barriers had come down. Organisers then announced the concert would be a free event, prompting thousands more to head for the festival. Lang and his team have yet to settle on an exact capacity for the upcoming Woodstock, only hinting that it'll most probably be in the six figures.

Lang also adds that this year's Woodstock will also have an online livestream of the event, buskers roaming the festival grounds and movie screenings. Most importantly, Lang emphasises that there will be a variety of NGOs onsite to spread awareness on getting involved in political causes.

“Things on the planet are critical at this point, especially when it comes to global warming,” Lang explains. “Everyone has a stake and ignoring it is ridiculous. I really want people to explore how they can get involved. That’s one of my main motivations for doing this.”