Woodstock 2019: Who will play, how to get tickets and what to know
Darlene Fedun, and Wade Lawrence of the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts weigh in on why Woodstock is relevant nearly fifty years later. Poughkeepsie Journal
They gathered as a massive crowd. They saw musical performances by the biggest performers of the day. And they made history.
Upwards of a half million people descended on Sullivan County Aug. 15-18, 1969, for the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, a cultural touchstone whose political impact continues to resonate loudly five decades later. Held against the backdrop of a turbulent decade, Woodstock united the counterculture and provided a platform from which its members demanded the world’s attention.
Now, the 50th anniversary of Woodstock is just a few months away. And anticipation is building.
So before the big weekend in August consumes us all, here’s what you need to know:
Will there be an anniversary concert?
There will be... something. Whether the celebration extends beyond the original festival site remains to be confirmed.
Michael Lang, co-founder of the original festival, is planning “Woodstock 50,” which is to be held at Watkins Glen International racetrack in Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, on Aug. 16-18.
However, the fate of that event has been put in doubt recently as financial backer Dentsu Aegis not only pulled out but announced the event's cancellation. Production company Superfly followed soon after. But the remaining organizers maintain the event will be held.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which sits on the original festival site, had planned to host the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival.
But that gathering was dropped in favor of four consecutive days of events, not a classic festival.
There will be a screening of the Oscar-winning Woodstock documentary on the famous festival field and a free concert from Arlo Guthrie on Aug. 15; a concert featuring Ringo Starr and Edgar Winter on Aug. 16; a performance from Carlos Santana with the Doobie Brothers on Aug. 17, and a concert from John Fogerty on Aug. 18. Guthrie, Winter, Fogerty and Santana all performed at Woodstock in 1969.
Who will be at Woodstock 50?
More than 80 musical acts spanning various generations and musical styles were set to perform. Whether each performer will stay with the festival amid its recent planning setbacks remains to be seen.
Day 1, Aug. 16: The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, John Fogerty, Run the Jewels, The Head and the Heart, Maggie Rogers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Bishop Briggs, Anderson East, Akon, Princess Nokia, John Sebastian, Melanie, Grandson, Fever 333, Dorothy, Flora Cash, Larkin Poe, Brian Cadd and Ninet Tayeb
Day 2, Aug. 17: Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal, The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, David Crosby and Friends, Dawes, Margo Price, Nahko and Medicine for the People, India.Arie, Jade Bird, Country Joe McDonald, Rival Sons, Emily King, Soccer Mommy, Sir, Taylor Bennett, Amy Helm, Courtney Hadwin, Pearl, John-Robert and IAMDDB
Day 3, Aug. 18: Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage the Elephant, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monae, Young the Giant, Courtney Barnett, Common, Vince Staples, Judah and the Lion, Earl Sweatshirt, Boygenius, Reignwolf, The Zombies, Canned Heat, Hot Tuna, Pussy Riot, Cherry Glazerr, Leven Kali, The Marcus King Band, Victory, Hollis Brown, John Craigie, Amigo the Devil and Liz Brasher
Can we see them all?
That depends on how much of each performance you want to see, and how you are at planning out your day. The musical acts at Woodstock 50 each day will be spread out across four stages, with one focusing on acoustic acts.
For instance, on Aug. 16, The Killers are headlining the "Peace Stage," Miley Cyrus will be on the "Love Stage," Santana is scheduled for the "Music Stage" and John Sebastian will play on the "Garden Stage." The timing of the performances is not yet known.
In addition, a fifth stage will feature speakers, comedians and other performers.
Where can I get information:
Visit www.woodstock.com for information on Woodstock 50, and www.bethelwoodscenter.org for the events at the Sullivan County site.
How much do tickets cost?
Tickets for the Ringo concert went on sale March 22 and cost $49.50-$179 for reserved seating; $38.50 for lawn tickets; and $126.00 for a four-pack of lawn tickets. Tickets for the Santana show are on sale and cost $89.50-$199.50 for reserved seating; $55.50 for the lawn; and $176 for a four-pack of lawn tickets.
Though originally scheduled for April 22, tickets for Woodstock 50 will go on sale "soon," according to its website. Tim O'Hearn, administrator for Schuyler County, where the event is scheduled to be held, said the state Department of Health is reviewing Woodstock 50's permit application, which he said was submitted April 15. The state must issue a temporary permit for events before ticket sales can begin, he said.
Pricing for Woodstock 50 not yet available. It's not yet clear how the ticket packages will work. Organizers have said there will not be single-day tickets for sale. There will be packages that include camping, with more swanky "glamping" packages available. Woodstock 50 organizers say they will cap campsite sales at 27,000 and there is a limit of four people per campsite.
How can I get tickets?
Visit www.bethelwoodscenter.org or contact Ticketmaster, at 1-800-345-7000 or www.ticketmaster.com, for information on Woodstock anniversary concerts at Bethel Woods.
More information on tickets for Woodstock 50 is scheduled to be available on www.woodstock.com, where there is an option for signing up for alerts.
Are these the first Woodstock anniversary events?
No. Lang previously staged Woodstock anniversary concerts in 1994 and 1999.
“Woodstock 94” was held in Saugerties on Aug. 13-14, featuring such performers as Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow, Metallica and Joe Cocker.
“Woodstock 99” was held in Rome on July 22-25, and included the Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Fatboy Slim, Willie Nelson and others.
Bethel Woods in August 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with performances that featured a range of acts, including Richie Havens and Levon Helm, who both performed at the original concert in 1969.
Who is behind the shows?
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization launched by the Sullivan County-based Gerry Foundation, which was founded by Alan Gerry, a cable television entrepreneur, philanthropist and lifelong resident of Sullivan County.
An Ulster County resident, Lang is the driving force behind Woodstock 50. This event is being produced under license from Woodstock Ventures, which was founded by Lang, Joel Rosenman and the late John Roberts. Those three, along with Artie Kornfeld, produced the 1969 Woodstock festival. Kornfeld will be rejoining the team for Woodstock 50.
What else is being done to celebrate the anniversary?
Bethel Woods in 2019 is also marking the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock with “A Season of Song & Celebration.”
This series of events includes:
"We Are Golden,” an exhibit at the Museum at Bethel Woods that examines Woodstock and the global aspirations of youth living in 1969. A separate exhibit, "We Are Stardust," will showcase the 1969 lunar landing. "We Are Stardust/We Are Golden" are lyrics from the song "Woodstock," written by Joni Mitchell, who very famously did not play Woodstock in 1969. The exhibits are scheduled to run March 30-Dec. 31, 2019.
Bethel Woods has also scheduled a slew of big-name performers for the year that do not fall under the Woodstock banner.
Upcoming concerts include the Dave Matthews Band on June 19; Jackson Browne on July 6; and Chris Stapleton on July 26. That's in addition to KFEST and Mountain Jam in June. And country music star Luke Bryan will perform at Bethel Woods on Sept. 12.
John W. Barry: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4822, Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo