Woodstock 50th anniversary: Original organizer keeps plans quiet while Bethel Woods announces concert plans

As the Woodstock business community prepares for the coming summer’s anniversary festivities for the rock and roll blast that helped push Woodstock into legendary status 50 years ago, everyone’s been wondering how the commemorations will be occurring.

Notably tight-lipped to date has been the remaining producer from that big 1969 event, Woodstock resident Michael Lang, who went on to produce anniversary events in 1994, in Saugerties, and in 1999, in Rome New York.

Asked if he could say what might be happening, Lang emaild back, “Nope, announcement coming in a couple of weeks,” above a new logo of the original festival’s peace dove having cracked a semi-automatic rifle in two, along with the Ken Kesey quote, “Put your good where it does the most.”

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In the interim, the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a heavily-funded non-profit cultural center located at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival in Sullivan County, put out a press release on December 27 announcing its own Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival to be produced in tandem with Live Nation, which promotes itself as “the world’s leading live entertainment company,” and INVNT, “a global live brand storytelling agency.”

That release resulted in December 28 stories in USA Today and Billboard, among other publications, that reiterated what had been fed to the press.

The festival is vaguely billed, at this point, as a three day “pan-generational music, culture, and community event” set to include “live performances from prominent and emerging artists spanning multiple genres and decades, and TED-style talks from leading futurists and retro-tech experts” alongside a new exhibit at the Museum at Bethel Woods: We Are Golden: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival and Aspirations for an Aquarian Future.
“Fifty years ago, people gathered peacefully on our site inspired to change the world through music,” noted the Center for the Arts’ CEO, Darlene Fedun. “As the stewards of this historic site, we remain committed to preserving this rich history and spirit, and to educating and inspiring new generations to contribute positively to the world through music, culture, and community.”
The August 16-18 festival will utilize the former Yasgur Farm’s new state-of-the-art venues and facilities alongside newly-created “entertainment villages and a number of bespoke performance areas.” Full details “of the event line-up, ticketing, non-musical experiences, and brand activity” will be released soon.

“Officials in Sullivan County recently said they plan to install 36 fiberglass dove statues to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary in a nod to the original event’s iconic logo,” ended the Billboard piece, which noted previous anniversary celebrations, two of them produced by Lang. “Local artists will be commissioned to paint the doves in colors reminiscent of the 1960s.”

The USA Today piece noted that there would be anniversary screenings of the Woodstock film, which prominently features Lang amongst footage of the 1969 festival and many of its performers.

Lang, meanwhile, is signing off on his missives these days as Woodstock Ventures LC, Managing Member, Michael Lang Organization and Woodstock Music Lab — the latter being the rock college being planned for the former Zena Elementary School just outside Woodstock (the town).

And principals of EchoSixty6, a Woodstock-based marketing and promotional firm that’s been working with the local chamber of commerce and arts to promote town anniversaries and events this summer, noted that its efforts are fully underway already for a full rollout from May through October.

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