The most far-out festival experience returns
50 years since the culture-defining festival, Woodstock 2019 is taking place, under the management of founding organiser Michael Lang. The festival will take place over three days at Watkins Glen, New York, between August 16 and 18.
The first ever Woodstock was held on August 15, 1969. Billed as “An Aquarian Experience: 3 Days of Peace and Music” – the epic event would later come to be known simply as Woodstock. The festival soon earned itself a reputation as a kind of hippie mecca, synonymous with countercultural movements of the 1960s that favoured peace and love, not war.
This time around, Lang plans to revamp the festival’s offering with an “eclectic bill.” He told Rolling Stone to expect hip-hop and rock mixed in with some legacy bands and pop. He also voiced hopes for onstage collabs and tributes to original Woodstock performers such as Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane. “Having contemporary artists interpret that music would be a really interesting and exciting idea,” he said. “We’re also looking for unique collaborations, maybe some reunions and a lot of new and up-and-coming talent.”
Woodstock 2019 hopes to attract a multi-generational audience, by creating a digital presence – the event will be live-streamed online. There will also be a heavy focus on environmental activism. “Things on the planet are critical at this point, especially when it comes to global warming,” Lang told Rolling Stone. “Everyone has a stake and ignoring it is ridiculous. I really want people to explore how they can get involved. That’s one of my main motivations for doing this.”
Lang is adamant that Woodstock '19 will be the cleanliest yet, claiming that there is “a new dimension in portable toilets now”. A strange selling point perhaps, but remember the disaster that was Woodstock ‘99? In the likely case that you were about seven at the time, let us remind you. The notoriously filthy event had widespread violence, an outbreak of E.coli and bad sanitation. In any case, Lang ensured that these futuristic portaloos are “clean and airy and sizeable. They also don’t get pumped during the event, so you don’t have these wagons running around smelling everywhere. And then the end product is fertilizer.” Like the messy housemate who claims that this time, they’ve really changed, we’ll believe it when we see it.
Will you be making the trip?