A 50th anniversary Woodstock festival is being planned for 2019 by Ulster County resident Michael Lang, a promoter for the 1969 gathering.

“We have definite plans,” Lang told the Journal on Friday.

He added: “I’m excited. I am indeed.”

Lang has served as the public face of this historic concert for five decades.

Details on performers, a date and location were not available. 

Lang said: “These are plans. This is not a done deal yet. But it’s very close.”

An official announcement will be coming soon, he said

Doug Lucy of Fishkill, 65, said he is definitely interested to hear more about a possible anniversary festival.

“If they do it in the right place and it’s not crazy expensive, I think it would great,” he said. “I’d definitely be interested, really interested to see who is going to be there.”

Considered the crowning achievement of the 1960s counterculture, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in August 1969 attracted hundreds of thousands of people to Bethel in Sullivan County. Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Richie Havens and Janis Joplin were among the performers at the festival, which took place against the backdrop of 1960s turmoil.

Lang with partners staged the historic event in 1969. He held a 25th anniversary concert in Saugerties in 1994 and a 30th anniversary concert in Rome, New York, in 1999.

The Woodstock site is now home to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which features a museum and indoor and outdoor performance venues, which host Woodstock veterans and contemporary acts on a regular basis. Lang is not affiliated with Bethel Woods. 

Lang said the anniversary festival will be built around sustainability, activism and social justice, themes that “hopefully encourage people to get involved with our lives on the planet.” Lang said his goal is to harness the “history and essence of what Woodstock was.”

He continued, “We’re hoping to inspire people to speak up and get involved and get out and vote and help us save the planet. We are in trouble and it seems like we’ve been brought back in time in a lot of ways. It’s eerie how similar a lot of things are to the way it was in the late ‘60s. Lessons we thought we learned seem to be coming back, unlearned. The progress we learned in social justice seems to be going backwards.”

Woodstock fun facts

According to the New York State Police:

  • Out of the hundreds of thousands of people who attended Woodstock, only 109 were arrested at the festival, all but four for drugs, “but no instance of violence came to the attention of troopers.”
  • Troopers booked 270 people on 408 charges who were either on their way to Bethel or returning home, and confiscated “a substantial quantity of drugs.”
  • According to a New York State Health Department report dated Sept. 25, 1969: “Two companies provided 650 individual toilet seats and 200 urinal spaces. This number was planned to serve 60,000. Servicing was difficult due to crowds, stalled cars and mud. There were long lines at some of the toilet sites; however, the spirit of helpfulness and sharing allowed maximum use, not to mention the lack of inhibition on the part of the Aquarius generation. …”

According to documents obtained from the Sullivan County Historical Society, Food for Love, the company hired to provide food, made the following projections based on 50,000 people a day for a three-day festival. This is a sampling of the entire food list:

  • Bread: 30,000 loaves.
  • Marshmallows: 10,000 packages.
  • Peanut butter: 1,500 pounds.
  • Napkins: 600,000.
  • Milk: 20,000 gallons.
  • Cheese: 5,000 pounds.
  • Coffee: 2,000 pounds.
  • Plastic eating utensils: 900,000 pieces.

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