WATKINS GLEN — This Schuyler County village has been chosen to host an anniversary celebration of one of music’s most iconic events.
Woodstock 50, the only authorized commemoration of the 1969 festival, is scheduled for Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International racetrack.
The Glen, which hosted the historic Summer Jam in 1973 four years after the original Woodstock was staged, features 1,000 acres of green space that will be used as the festival grounds. Lodging space for tents, RVs and vans will be offered, and more premium camping options will be available.
Michael Lang, the co-founder of the original Woodstock festival in 1969, will be returning as co-producer for its 50th anniversary. He said the selection of Watkins Glen International made sense, given that there will be 400 more acres to use than the downstate site.
“The original site in Bethel 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. It’s a beautiful location and an ideal site.”
Lang claims to have felt “an immediate emotional connection to the land” when he first saw it.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with an iconic brand and event like Woodstock,” said Chris Banker, public relations director at Watkins Glen International. “For it to be the 50th anniversary, it’s an even bigger win for the area.
“This is going to be an economic boost for the area, as well, with estimates for the economic impact trending between $35 and $50 million dollars.”
The lineup of performers has yet to be announced, but Lang has stated that more than 60 acts of varying genres will take the various stages. Lang is assuring potential festival goers that the essence of the original festival and its musical influence will be honored.
“It will be primarily contemporary talent, but the legacy acts will be represented and honored,” he said.
Lang wants a younger crowd — so much so that a limited number of discounted, pre-sale tickets will be made available to college students ranging in age from 18-25. Those will go on sale by the end of January, Lang said.
The lineup and general ticket information will be unveiled at a later time, he added.
Aside from capturing a college-aged audience, Lang hopes to get his message across that this new festival is all about “music with purpose,” that it will be about bringing people together.
Nonprofit organizations will have a presence at the festival with screenings, panels and art installations.
The festival also will contain what are being called “highly curated neighborhoods” described as offering “more intimate and unique experiences with art forms from music to comedy, spoken word to film and amazing food offerings.”