On Woodstock’s 50th anniversary, double the peace, love and music

Janet Huey displays her original ticket at the site of the
original Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, New York.
Eric Thayer, Reuters

LOS ANGELES — The 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music
festival, one of the watersheds of the 1960s counterculture
movement, will be celebrated in August with two competing
events.

Michael Lang, the co-producer of the 1969 Woodstock festival,
announced on Wednesday that the official Woodstock Music and
Arts Fair would take place from August 16-18 at a motor-racing
venue in upstate New York.

Last month, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the current
owners of the field where the 1969 festival took place,
announced it would mark the 50th anniversary with a
“pan-generational event” on the same dates.

“The original festival in ‘69 was a reaction by the youth of
the time to the causes we felt compelled to fight for — civil
rights, women’s rights, and the antiwar movement, and it gave
way to our mission to share peace, love and music,” Lang said
in a statement.

“Today, we’re experiencing similar disconnects in our country,
and one thing we’ve learned is that music has the power to
bring people together. So, it’s time to bring the Woodstock
spirit back, get involved and make our voices heard.”

The August 1969 Woodstock festival, billed as “three days of
peace and music,” is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in
music history.

Over three sometimes-rainy days, more than 30 acts — including
Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Band, and the Grateful
Dead – performed around the clock to a 400,000-strong audience,
most of whom watched for free and camped onsite in the mud. The
festival was documented in the 1970 film “Woodstock,” which won
an Oscar.

Lang did not announce the 2019 performer line-up but said more
than 60 musicians would take part on three main stages at
Watkins Glenn International, the site of car racing events
including NASCAR.

“It will be primarily contemporary talent, but the legacy acts
will be represented and honored,” said Lang, referring to the
surviving musicians, now in their 70s, who continue to perform.

Although it was known as Woodstock, the 1969 festival actually
took place in Bethel, some 110 km south of the village of
Woodstock and 144 km north of New York City.

Watkins Glen has a larger crowd capacity and is some 150 miles
distant from Bethel and about 250 miles north of New York
City. 

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