Two weeks after it plays host to the NASCAR Cup Series on Aug. 4, Watkins Glen International will host the 50th anniversary celebration of the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival — also known as Woodstock 50 — from Aug. 16-18.
Yes, it’s been 50 years since Woodstock, whose “3 Days of Peace & Music” in mid-August 1969 captivated the world with musical acts including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Santana, Joe Cocker and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Co-producer and co-founder of the original Woodstock 1969 and now Woodstock 50, Michael Lang, announced Wednesday that the 1,000-acre WGI will host Woodstock 50, the only authorized commemoration of the original fest. Tickets are expected to go on sale first for college students ages 18-25 by the end of January.
“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 media release. “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 musical lineup for Woodstock 50 will be announced in the coming weeks, Lang said. The festival will have three main stages and is expected to host a wide swath of artists of various musical genres from rock, hip hop, pop and country music. In additional to contemporary artists, several tribute performances honoring those who played at the first Woodstock will also be held.
WGI has nearly twice the space as the upstate New York farm owned by Max Yasgur, which hosted the original Woodstock Aug. 15-18, 1969. WGI is about 150 miles northwest of the original Woodstock site.
“The original site in Bethel (New York) is wonderful, but much too small for what we’re envisioning,” Lang said. “Watkins Glen International gives us the ability to create something unlike any other commemorative event and something uniquely Woodstock.”
Lang added that when he first saw WGI as a potential host site, he felt “an immediate emotional connection to the land. It’s a beautiful location and an ideal site.”