What Happened to Woodstock 50?

The 50th anniversary of the first Woodstock festival occurred this weekend without an official event, as it was canceled earlier in the year by producer Michael Lang.

Lang had imagined a huge three-day music festival that would draw 150,000 people to upstate New York, true to the original Woodstock in 1969. The event would have connected the brand name’s heritage to the Coachella generation through an act list including popular hip-hop artists and pop chart-toppers.


Lang had proposed this to several agents who were skeptical of the plausibility of the event Lang was describing. Woodstock is not as influential of a name to today’s generation due to the increased competition in the music festival business. After the riots and sexual assaults that occurred at the poorly planned Woodstock ‘99, music festivals had to be well organized in order to be competitive. (Read more on Woodstock ‘99 here.


Despite the announcement of the Woodstock 50 event, tickets were never sold and permits were never acquired as many of them were rejected. Lang had a plan and acts, but no venue for the event (nytimes.com). Eventually, things crumbled just a few weeks before the anniversary.


“You can’t ‘magic’ one of these [Woodstocks] into happening, and that’s what they tried to do with this,” David Crosby, one of the artists booked for the 50th anniversary festival, said in an interview with Rolling Stone (rollingstone.com).


Several commemorative events were still held this weekend, even with the absence of an official event. One of these such events was held in the original Woodstock site, in Bethyl Woods, New York. However, none of these tribute events could legally call themselves Woodstock.


The original Woodstock in 1969 was called “3 Days of Peace & Music”; it is something that we may not see again anytime soon.