Woodstock 50 Music Festival Coming To Watkins Glen In August
The Woodstock 50 music festival will be held on the fields surrounding Watkins Glen International race track in Watkins Glen, New York August 16 – 18. Michael Lang, who co-created the original festival in 1969, is heading up the team organizing the new event. An artist announcement is due next month when tickets go on sale. Lang told Rolling Stone over 40 performers have been booked for Woodstock 50. “It’ll be an eclectic bill,” Lang said. “It’ll be hip-hop and rock and some pop and some of the legacy bands from the original festival.”
Watkins Glen International hosted the Summer Jam in 1973 featuring The Allman Brothers Band, The Band and the Grateful Dead. More recently, Phish held Super Ball in 2011 and Magnaball in 2015 at the site. The band was set to throw their Curveball Festival at Watkins Glen last summer, but needed to cancel due to issues with the water supply. Lang said he will bring in his own water supply to avoid such a problem. “At Woodstock ’94 [in Saugerties, New York] we had a different sort of water issue since the town didn’t have a big enough reservoir,” the promoter explained to Rolling Stone. “We had to put up two 1 million gallon temporary tanks and filled them over the time. That’s the solution we’re going to use this time to make sure the water is potable.”
Michael Lang is aiming to have “newer bands” honor the legacy of the festival by staging “celebrations of artists from the original Woodstock” such as Janis Joplin, The Band and Joe Cocker. “Having contemporary artists interpret that music would be a really interesting and exciting idea,” Lang revealed to Rolling Stone. “We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.” He mentioned organizers are working on a capacity for the event that will likely be in the six figures.
Beyond music, Lang and his partners envision an event featuring “a program of films, speakers and partnerships with organizations like HeadCount,” as per the New York Times. “We want this to be more than just coming to a concert,” Lang said. “And hopefully a lot of the bands will become part of this effort to get people to stand up and make themselves heard, to get and out vote. And if they don’t have a candidate that represents their feelings, to find one — or to run themselves.”
A competing event co-promoted by Live Nation will be held at Bethel Woods in Bethel, New York — the site of the original festival. Jimi Hendrix, The Band, Grateful Dead, Crosby Stills Nash & Young and Richie Havens were among those who performed at the original Woodstock, which was held August 15 – 18, 1969.