Official Woodstock 50 Festival Announced, With Clowns

Michael Lang, one of the producers behind the original 1969 Woodstock Music & Arts Fair, has announced Woodstock 50, an official three-day 50th anniversary festival. It’ll take place in the fields surrounding the Watkins Glen International racetrack in Watkins Glen, New York, the site of the 1973 Summer Jam festival, from 8/16-18, almost exactly 50 years after the first Woodstock was held at a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York.

The New York Times reports that Lang is still booking acts, and the official lineup won’t be announced until tickets go on sale in February. But Lang tells Rolling Stone that he’s already booked over 40 artists, including some big headliners. “It’ll be an eclectic bill,” he says. “It’ll be hip-hop and rock and some pop and some of the legacy bands from the original festival.”

Some of the contemporary bands on the band will also stage “celebrations of artists from the original Woodstock,” likely including tributes to Janis Joplin, the Band, Jefferson Airplane, Joe Cocker, and more. “Having contemporary artists interpret that music would be a really interesting and exciting idea,” Lang says. “We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.”

Woodstock 50 is the second Woodstock anniversary event to be announced after the Bethel Woods Music And Culture Festival, which will take place over the same weekend in Bethel, New York, the same grounds as the original. That one, produced by the Bethel Woods Center For The Arts alongside Live Nation Concerts and INVNT, will feature “live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades, and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts.”

So what sets Woodstock 50 apart? For one thing, it’s the “official” Woodstock anniversary festival, as Lang is a partner in Woodstock Ventures, the company that controls the Woodstock trademark rights. It’ll also feature a livestream, partnerships with political nonprofits like HeadCount, film screenings, glamping tents with real beds, and, for some reason, jugglers and clowns roaming the grounds. Just don’t hold your breath for CSNY on the lineup. “I’ve talked to them all individually,” Lang says. “And it’s a mess.”

Tags: Woodstock