In June of 2014, Michael Lang – a key figure behind the original Woodstock festival – made big news when he announced his intentions to throw a 50th anniversary celebration for Woodstock in 2019. Little has been said about the festival since, but it appears an amphitheater built on the site of the original Woodstock is gearing up to host a 50th anniversary celebration and recently received financial help from the state of New York.
While the original 1969 festival was supposed to take place in Woodstock, New York; permitting issues led organizers to move the event 43 miles outside of town to Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. In 2006, Bethel Woods Center For The Arts opened on a campus of 2,000 acres that features a 15,000-capacity amphitheater, a museum and more intimate gallery space. The campus includes the site where the Woodstock festival took place in 1969. Operators of the not-for-profit Bethel Woods were recently awarded a grant to help with planning for an event in honor of Woodstock’s 50th anniversary in 2019.
The Poughkeepsie Journal reports Bethel Woods Center For The Arts received $689,063 earmarked towards a three-day festival in 2019 from New York State’s Regional Economic Development Council. As for now, whether Bethel will host a festival planned by Michael Lang is unclear.
Lang and his partners have put together Woodstock anniversary festivals in the past at locations far from where the original event took place. Woodstock ’94 featured the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blues Traveler, Primus, The Allman Brothers Band and Bob Dylan performing at Winston Farm in Saugerties. Then there was the infamous Woodstock ’99, which took place in Rome, New York and is more familiar to music fans for the violence, alleged rapes and fires that went down at the site than the music.
State officials gave the grant to Bethel Woods operators in aims of spurring tourism and economic growth. An additional grant of $28,225 was issued for various improvements to Bethel Woods including markers noting where major events of the 1969 festival took place. Stay tuned for more on Woodstock 50th anniversary celebrations as the Summer of 2019 approaches.
Watch The Band perform “The Weight” at the original Woodstock: