Woodstock Festival Will Return This Summer for 50th Anniversary

UPDATE: Whether or not Woodstock 50 will take place this summer was thrown into serious doubt today. This morning, April 29, 2019, Billboard reported that the event was cancelled, following an announcement to that effect made by the Dentsu Aegis Network—the company funding the festival.

"Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees," the company said. The news followed the postponement of ticket sales, rumors of large problems with the organization, and a headlining set cancellation by The Black Keys.

Later today, however, the organizers of the event announced that the festival would continue. As reported by NME, the organizers made a statement to the Poughkeepsie Journal: "Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival's cancellation and legal remedy will (be) sought."

The Bethel, New York event that captured the imaginations of the baby boomer generation and has continued to loom large in the history of rock music is set to return this summer as a three-day music festival. Michael Lang, one of the original Woodstock organizers, is behind the upcoming event as well, and made its official announcement in an interview with Rolling Stone, following months of rumors.

The Woodstock Music and Arts Fair 2019 will take place August 16–18, in Watkins Glen, New York—about 150 miles from the original site. Lang says the "multi-generational" event will feature new artists from across rock, hip-hop, and pop, as well as returning acts from the 1969 event.

"We're going back to our roots and our original intent," Lang told Rolling Stone, distancing himself from Woodstock '99, which turned destructive during Limp Bizkit's Saturday night performance of "Break Stuff" and ended in fires Sunday night. Participants, who had been given candles to set the mood for Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge," used them instead to set bonfires, concession stands, and, eventually, an audio tower ablaze.

Lang, who also helped organize Woodstock '99, called it an "MTV event" and "a musical experience with no social significance."

Vying for the social significance of Woodstock's 50th anniversary is another 50th anniversary festival planned for the same weekend. At the original site, Live Nation is promoting the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, which will include "live music, TED-style talks, and special exhibits."

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