According to the New York Times:
When the first Woodstock music festival was held in 1969, bringing around 400,000 people to a muddy field in Bethel, N.Y., it focused the world’s attention on pop music’s power to shape the culture.
Half a century later, in a music market already jammed with big-ticket festivals, could another Woodstock muster the same impact?
Michael Lang, one of the producers of the original event, is betting that it can. From Aug. 16 to 18 — almost exactly 50 years after the first Woodstock — he will present an official anniversary festival, Woodstock 50, in Watkins Glen, N.Y., with ambitions to not only attract a huge multigenerational audience but to rally those fans around a message of social activism.
Mr. Lang, who at 74 still has some of the cherubic look seen in the 1970 documentary “Woodstock” — though his curls are threaded with gray — said in an interview at the festival office in Woodstock that he is still booking the acts for the new show; he is hoping for a mixture of legacy bands, current pop and rap stars and, possibly, some news-making combinations.
But his vision for Woodstock’s 50th, he said, is clear: a large-scale camping weekend combining music with a program of films, speakers and partnerships with organizations like Head count, which registers young voters.
“Coachella’s got its thing, as does Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza,” Mr. Lang said. “But I think they’re all missing an opportunity to make a difference in the world. They’re all perfect places for social engagement and for fostering ideas, and I think that’s lost.”
“We want this to be more than just coming to a concert,” he added. “And hopefully a lot of the bands will become part of this effort to get people to stand up and make themselves heard, to get and out vote. And if they don’t have a candidate that represents their feelings, to find one — or to run themselves.”
Woodstock 50 will be held in the fields surrounding the Watkins Glen International racetrack, where the Summer Jam in 1973 drew an estimated 600,000 people for the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers and the Band; more recently, it has been the site of two festivals by Phish.