They gathered as a massive crowd. They saw musical performances by the greatest artists of the day. And they made history.
More than half a million people descended on Sullivan County from August 15 to 18, 1969 to attend the Woodstock Music and Art Fair, a cultural touchstone whose political impact continues to resonate sharply five decades later. Sustained in the context of a turbulent decade, Woodstock united the counterculture and provided a platform from which its members demanded the attention of the world.
Now, the 50th anniversary of Woodstock is only a few months away. And anticipation is being built.
So before the big weekend in August consumes us all, this is what you need to know:
Will there be an anniversary concert?
There will be multiple events, actually.
Michael Lang, co-founder of the original festival, will host “Woodstock 50,” which will be held at Watkins Glen International Racecourse in Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, August 16-18.
The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which is located on the original site of the festival, planned to organize the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival.
But that meeting was abandoned in favor of three consecutive days of events, not a classic festival. On August 15, the Oscar-winning documentary Woodstock will be screened at the famous festival field. a concert with Ringo Starr, Arlo Guthrie and Edgar Winter on August 16; and a performance by Santana with the Doobie Brothers on August 17. Guthrie, Winter and Santana performed at Woodstock in 1969.
Who will be at Woodstock 50?
More than 80 musical acts that span several generations and musical styles are programmed to act:
Day 1, August 16: The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Robert Plant and the sensational Space Shifters, Nathaniel Rateliff and Night Night, 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, August 17: Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, The Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal, The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe and magnetic zeros, David Crosby and his Friends, Dawes, Margo Price, Nahko and Medicine for the people, India. Arie, Jade Bird, Joe McDonald Country, Rival Sons, Emily King, Soccer Mommy, Lord, Taylor Bennett, Amy Helm, Courtney Hadwin, Pearl, John-Robert and IAMDDB
Day 3, August 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, Friend the Devil and Liz Brasher
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’s anniversary concerts at Bethel Woods.
More information about tickets for Woodstock 50 is scheduled to be available at www.woodstock.com
Are these the first Woodstock anniversary events?
No. Lang previously organized Woodstock anniversary concerts in 1994 and 1999.
“Woodstock 94” was held in Saugerties from August 13 to 14, with artists such as Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow, Metallica and Joe Cocker.
“Woodstock 99” was held in Rome from July 22 to 25, and included Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Fatboy Slim, Willie Nelson and others.
Bethel Woods in August 2009 marked the 40th anniversary of Woodstock with performances that included a series of acts, including Richie Havens and Levon Helm, who performed in the original concert in 1969.
Who is behind the shows?
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization launched by the Gerry Foundation, based in Sullivan County, which was founded by Alan Gerry, a cable television entrepreneur, philanthropist and permanent resident of Sullivan County.
Lang, a resident of Ulster County, is the driving force behind Woodstock 50. This event is 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 Woodstock festival of 1969. Kornfeld will join the team for Woodstock 50.
What else is being done to celebrate the anniversary?
Bethel Woods in 2019 also celebrates the 50th anniversary of Woodstock with “A Season of Song & Celebration”.