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Woodstock revived for 50th anniversary… and beyond

Promoter Michael Lang, the co-creator of 1969's original 'three days of peace and music', says plans are afoot to bring back "the original and most famous festival brand"

By Jon Chapple on 11 Feb 2016

Woodstock 1969, Mike Chen

Crowd at Woodstock 1969, Bethel


image © Mike Chen

Woodstock will return in 2019.

That’s according to promoter Michael Lang, who organised the original ‘three days of peace and music’ with John P. Roberts, Joel Rosenman and Artie Kornfeld in August 1969.

Lang has also revealed that Woodstock 2019 – which will presumably be in or nearby Bethel in New York (motto: Home of the 1969 Original Woodstock Festival), although the promoter is currently scouting out a number of different locations – may be joined by an international sister event, and that he sees an annual Woodstock festival continuing on past 2019’s 50th anniversary event.

“Woodstock is the original and most famous festival brand. With the prevalence of festivals out there, and all the excitement about them, maybe it’s time”

Woodstock is “the original and most famous festival brand,” Lang tells the Poughkeepsie Journal. “With the prevalence of festivals out there, and all the excitement about them, maybe it’s time [for an annual event].”

Around 350,000 fans attended the first large-scale Woodstock anniversary concert, Woodstock ’94, from 12 to 14 August 1994. Held on Winston Farm in Saugerties, New York, the event had “the most lax security I’ve ever seen at a concert,” said one attendee, Terry Lillis, but “a complete lack of […] violence and hostility”.

Woodstock 1999, attended by 200,000 people from 22 to 25 July in Rome, New York, was a different story, however. In temperatures of up to 100°F (38°C), the festival – headlined by decidedly unpeaceful rap-rock acts including Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine and Insane Clown Posse – descended into an orgy of chaos, with festivalgoers resentful of $15 bags of ice and $7 slices of pizza rioting, starting fires and even fighting with state troopers sent in to quell the lawlessness. A total of eight sexual assaults, including an apparent gang rape during a set by Korn, were also reported.