Multigenerational 50th-anniversary Woodstock event set for 2019

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Fifty years after the Woodstock music festival became one of the watersheds of hippie counterculture, an anniversary event will take place in August 2019 on the same field north of New York City.

The Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts announced a three-day festival of “music, culture and community” that will celebrate “the golden anniversary at the historic site of the 1969 Woodstock festival.”

The Bethel Woods Centre, a nonprofit that now owns the 37-acre (15-hectare) field that was the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival, said in a Facebook posting on Thursday that the Aug. 16-18 festival will be a “pan-generational event.”

It will feature live performances from prominent and emerging artists across multiple genres and decades, as well as talks from leading futurists and tech experts. The festival is a joint venture with concert promoters Live Nation.

Details of performers, tickets and other participants will be announced at a later date, the Bethel Woods Centre said.

The August 1969 Woodstock festival, billed as “three days of peace and music,” is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in music history and 1960s counterculture.

Over three sometimes-rainy days, more than 30 acts – including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Band, and the Grateful Dead – performed around the clock to a 400,000-strong audience, most of whom watched for free and camped onsite in the mud. The festival was documented in an the 1970 film “Woodstock,” which won an Oscar.

Although it was known as Woodstock, the festival actually took place in Bethel, some 70 miles (110 km) south of the village of Woodstock in upstate New York. Bethel is 90 miles (144 km) north of New York City.

“Fifty years ago, people gathered peacefully on our site inspired to change the world through music,” Darlene Fedun, chief executive of the Bethel Woods Centre, said in a statement announcing the 50th-anniversary event.

“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,” Fedun added.

The Bethel Woods festival is not affiliated with Michael Lang, a promoter of the 1969 festival, who has also spoken of plans to organise a 50th-anniversary event but has yet to make any announcement. Woodstock anniversary festivals were also held in 1994, 1998 and 1999.

Many of the 1969 Woodstock artists are now dead. Surviving musicians who are still performing into their 70s include Joan Baez, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, and David Crosby, Neil Young, Graham Nash and Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

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