Wish you could have experienced Woodstock? You'll get a chance, sort of, this summer on the 1969 festival's 50th anniversary. The organizer of the original festival confirms to Rolling Stone that a three-day music festival will be staged in Watkins Glen, NY, from Aug. 16-18—and it will be different than Woodstock '99, an event Rolling Stone calls "disastrous" and that Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang decries as "just a musical experience with no social significance. It was just a big party." This time around, he says, "We’re going back to our roots and our original intent," and the creators are maintaining all control of the event rather than outsourcing. The 1,000-acre green space where the festival will be held is near the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, NPR reports, and organizers expect most attendees will camp.
More than 40 performers have already been booked, including some bands who performed at the original festival, and tributes to other bands from the 1969 festival are also planned. Specific acts will be announced closer to the time tickets go on sale next month. The original Woodstock venue in Bethel, NY, about 150 miles away, was transformed from a farm into a concert venue in 2006, and it is also planning a 50th anniversary tribute over the same three-day period, USA Today reports. As for what is being called Woodstock 50, if you can't attend yourself, organizers plan to stream it online. There will be three main stages and three festival "neighborhoods." "Woodstock, in its original incarnation, was really about social change and activism," Lang says. "And that’s a model that we’re bringing back to this festival." (Or was the original Woodstock just a "chaotic mudfest" with mediocre performances?)