WATCH: Joni Mitchell plays 'Woodstock' at original festival site in 1998

watch 12/08/2019

The event being planned for Woodstock's 50th anniversary this year has inevitably being cancelled, with organiser Michael Lang saying: "Unfortunately, we ran out of time. [It] was an unfortunate venture, but I chalk it up to having the wrong partners early on. We did everything we could have done and we had the right motivations. We put together what I thought was an amazing lineup of talent. I thought we had all that right."

The last major concert Lang ran was Woodstock 99, which was notoriously disastrous, ending in a fiery riot. Much fewer people remember the successful Woodstock event held the year before, which Lang had nothing to do with - 'A Day In The Garden'. 

The 1998 festival, unlike Woodstock 94 and 99, was held at the site of the original festival in Bethel, New York. Nobody slept over at the three-day festival, and the capacity was capped at 30,000 people. 

Woodstock legacy acts Pete Townshend, Richie Havens, and Melanie were featured, along with Donovan, Goo Goo Dolls, Third Eye Blind, Stevie Nicks, Joan Osborne and Lou Reed. Highlights of the event included Pete Townshend reviving 'See Me, Feel Me' as the sun went down, and Stevie Nicks playing an epic rendition of 'Edge of Seventeen'.

The most impressive booking though was Joni Mitchell, who very rarely toured throughout the 80s and 90s, and essentially retired from the road in 2000. She was supposed to perform at the original Woodstock in 1969, but her manager David Geffen worried that the chaos of the event would make it impossible for her to make a planned appearance on the The Dick Cavett Show the following day. She was a new artist then and he felt that national TV exposure was far more valuable than playing a single concert.

David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and the Jefferson Airplane managed to play Woodstock and make Cavettt, and you can see from the expression on Joni Mitchell’s face throughout the interview that she was crushed to have missed out on all the fun. Not long afterwards, she wrote her classic song 'Woodstock' about the festival even though she wasn’t there. 

Watch her performing the song above, when she finally visited Bethel Woods for the 1998 'A Day in the Garden' festival.