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.”
Yet activism plays a significant part in a number of festivals. Environmental sustainability is central to Bonnaroo, for example, and this year Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival, in Philadelphia, has “Cause Village,” with some 56 charitable and activist organizations represented.
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.
For Woodstock, three main stages will be supplemented by three smaller “neighborhoods,” as Mr. Lang described them, with their own food and programming.
Tickets? Mr. Lang and his team are still working on that. But they envision selling a maximum of around 100,000 three-day passes, with most attendees camping on site.
As with its other anniversary years, Woodstock’s 50th will be widely celebrated and exploited in the media, with books, albums and a PBS documentary among the projects planned. But unlike the last Woodstock anniversary concerts, in 1994 and 1999, which Mr. Lang presented along with partners, the event now faces severe competition from large-scale festivals around the country.
Coachella, Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo, the three biggest, are now highly developed brand names, with the drawing power to sell out well in advance; tickets for Coachella’s two weekends, for example, sold out in a matter of hours last week.
There is even a competing Woodstock: the Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, over the same anniversary weekend — which will also feature “TED-style talks” — will be held on the same grounds as the original, around 60 miles from the town of Woodstock. (The Watkins Glen site is further afield, about 30 miles west of Ithaca.)
For many concertgoers, another issue is whether the Woodstock name itself was damaged by the 1999 festival, which was marred by fires, rioting and reports of sexual assault.
“It’s not tainted,” Mr. Lang said. “’99 was more like an MTV event than a Woodstock event, really. I take some responsibility for that. It was also kind of an angry time in music.”
And then there is the corporate consolidation of the concert business, which has grown especially intense over the last few years as two companies, Live Nation and AEG, compete to book major tours. Live Nation is a partner in the Bethel Woods event.
“The industry has completely changed since 1999,” said John Scher, the veteran concert promoter who was a partner with Mr. Lang on Woodstock ’94 and ’99. “The entrepreneurial spirit of 1969 doesn’t exist anymore.”
Mr. Lang declined to discuss the budget for Woodstock 50, but festivals of its size typically spend tens of millions on talent alone.
“We paid $135,000 for all of our talent in 1969,” Mr. Lang said. “Times have changed.”
The festival is being financed by the Dentsu Aegis Network, a unit of the Japanese advertising giant Dentsu; agencies within the Dentsu Aegis Network will be involved in marketing and selling sponsorships.
One advantage for Woodstock 50 is that it is “official.” Mr. Lang remains a partner in Woodstock Ventures, the company that controls the trademark rights, and licenses it for various products. The one Mr. Lang has been closest to is Woodstock Cannabis.
“Cannabis has always been in our DNA,” Mr. Lang said with a smile; his first commercial venture, in 1966, was a head shop in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami.
Of the other young men on the team that created Woodstock — Joel Rosenman, John Roberts and Artie Kornfeld — Rosenman is a partner in Woodstock Ventures, along with the family of Roberts, who died in 2001. Kornfeld will return as a consultant and “spiritual adviser,” Mr. Lang said.
Merchandise sales — particularly featuring the original Woodstock bird-and-guitar logo — provide one proxy for gauging the continuing appeal of the Woodstock brand. Dell Furano, the chief executive of Epic Rights, who has handled official Woodstock merchandise for 15 years, said that he is expecting over $100 million in retail sales of Woodstock licensed products in 2019 — four or five times that of non-anniversary years.
“There’s every type of tie-dye. Children’s products. Dog products. Speakers, wine, cannabis,” Mr. Furano said in an interview. “The appeal is multigenerational.”
In 1969, the mud, the tie-dye and the idealism were all catalysts in creating what the original festival had promised: three days of peace and music. Mr. Lang said that the divisiveness of the current political climate called for that once again.
“It just seems like it’s a perfect time,” he said, “for a Woodstock kind of reminder.”
Entertainment schedule announced for upcoming Winter Fair at NYS Fairgrounds
A full slate of musicians and other entertainers, including many New York State Fair favorites, have been booked to perform at the upcoming Winter Fair in February.
Held inside the state fairground’s Expo Center, the three-day festival will feature elements of the summertime tradition, including midway rides, vendors and fair foods.
Friday, Feb. 8
4 p.m. – Paul Davie’s Magical Mystery Tour
6 p.m. – The Ripcords
8:30 p.m. – Custom Taylor Band
Saturday, Feb. 9
11 a.m. – Kambuyu Marimba Band
12:15 p.m. – Francis Academy of Irish Dance
1 p.m. – Karate John’s martial arts demonstration
1:30 p.m. – Mike & the Rhythm & Blues
2:20 p.m. – Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy
3 p.m. – Karate John’s martial arts demonstration
3:30 p.m. – Joe Driscoll
4:45 p.m. – Native American Dancers, representing the Six Nations
6 p.m. – The BlackLites
8:30 p.m. – Todd Hobin Band
Sunday, Feb. 10
· 12:15 p.m. – Sera Bullis
· 1:30 p.m. – Winner of the JCC Battle of the Bands (scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 19)
· 3:30 p.m. – Grupo Pagan
· 6 p.m. – Jess Novak Band
The fair runs from 3 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.
Advance tickets are $4 for adults, $2 for teens and seniors and free for children under 12. Advance tickets are available online at nyswinterfair.com. Tickets at the door will be $6 for adults and $4 for teens and seniors.
Toyota Supra returns for 2020 with help from BMW
Since everyone seems to love a reboot these days, Toyota is getting in on the action with the first Supra sports car it’s sold in the United States since 1998.
The long-awaited coupe debuting at the Detroit Auto Show is a collaboration with BMW that has also spawned a new Z4 roadster, but looks every bit the modern Toyota and features an inline-six-cylinder engine just like the most iconic Supras of old.
This one’s a 3.0-liter that’s turbocharged to put out 335 hp, and the Supra has rear-wheel-drive, a perfect 50/50 weight distribution and can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds. It’s only available with an 8-speed automatic transmission, but comes standard with a computer-controlled suspension and active rear differential that shifts power from side to side to improve handling.
Toyota’s namesake president Akio Toyoda, who races cars for fun and is one of the brand’s certified Master Drivers, personally took it to the track for development driving. (Must be nice to run your grandfather’s company, huh?)
Toyota is even putting the Supra’s name and face on its spec Nascar Xfinity Series cars this season to drive the performance point home. Toyota’s North American General Manager, Jack Hollis says the company shares the same level of purchase consideration as Ford and Chevrolet among NASCAR fans and expects the Supra to connect with them just as well as the Camry and Tundra have.
It’s very much a grand tourer, though, with an upscale, two-seat interior and plenty of electronic safety aids including automatic emergency brakes, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control, but you can always turn them off and just drive.
Pricing will start at $50,920 when the Supra speeds into showrooms this summer.
Who Is Katherine Schwarzenegger? All About Chris Pratt’s New Fiancée and Her Kennedy Connection
Katherine Schwarzenegger is more than just her famous last name.
The 28-year-old recently got engaged to boyfriend Chris Pratt after first being linked together in June 2018. Pratt, 39, revealed the happy news with a sweet picture of him giving Schwarzenegger a kiss on the forehead while she proudly shows off her ring. Schwarzenegger also later posted the same image.
“Sweet Katherine, so happy you said yes! I’m thrilled to be marrying you. Proud to live boldly in faith with you. Here we go! 💍🙏♥️,” Pratt captioned his post.
“My sweet love. Wouldn’t want to live this life with anyone but you ♥️💍” Schwarzenegger wrote on hers.
But who is the famous beauty the action star is set to marry? Read on for more.
Her family is seriously famous
This one is a no-brainer given her last name, but her high-profile parentage goes even deeper than dad Arnold. Schwarzenegger is Arnold and Maria Shriver’s oldest child, with sister Christina, 27, and brothers Patrick, 25, and Christopher, 21, following close behind.
Although her dad is one of the biggest action stars in the world, her mom’s side of the family is even more famous. Shriver’s mom and Schwarzenegger’s grandma was Eunice Kennedy — President John F. Kennedy’s younger sister.
Eunice married Shriver’s dad Sargent, who is also a recognizable name in history. He served as U.S. Ambassador to France and was even the Democratic nominee for Vice President in the 1972 election alongside Presidential nominee George McGovern, but they lost to President Richard Nixon.
Eunice died in 2009 at 88 while Sargent died in 2011 at 95.
She was raised religious
Like Pratt, Schwarzenegger’s religious faith plays a big role in her life. The whole Schwarzenegger clan would often attend church together before Arnold and Maria’s separation, and Schwarzenegger has continued attending service regularly with Pratt.
A source tells PEOPLE that their shared beliefs have been a big part of their relationship.
“They click on a lot of levels, but definitely on a spiritual level,” the source says. “They have the same outlook on the world, and their faith ties them together. He’s really impressed that she’s vocal and unashamed about her beliefs in God, because that’s how he is. He’s constantly around other people who have no faith or are apologetic about it, but not her. She is willing to talk about it to anyone who will listen.”
She’s an accomplished author
Schwarzenegger has made a name for herself as an author, starting with her 2010 book Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty from Someone Who’s Been There and Back. Schwarzenegger used the book to tell her own personal story in overcoming self-image issues while giving advice in how to be confident.
Her next book came in 2014 after she struggled finding her way after graduating from the University of Southern California. I Just Graduated . . . Now What? gave advice to fellow recent grads in how to navigate the post-college life.
Schwarzenegger’s latest work is a children’s book titled Maverick and Me, which she released in 2017. It’s named after her rescue dog Maverick and tells the story of how he came into her life.
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