As Woodstock's 40th anniversary approaches rumors are flying that another birthday concert is in the works. While original producer Michael Lang has been talking about plans for one concert in New York City and another in Berlin, 1969 Woodstock producer Joel Rosenman, Lang's partner for 40 years, says the show is very far away from being booked and may not even happen this year. "It may not be the year for Woodstock," he says. "We've had some very encouraging news about this year in the past few weeks, but we don't know for sure. We're not going to let some technical number, some digit, determine when the next Woodstock is. We're going to let something bigger than that determine it."
Rosenman says there were big plans for multiple Woodstocks all across the world last year, but the economic crash has made it very difficult to find funding. "That's an ambitious format that we can conceived of at a time when the tide was coming in in the world economy," he says. "It's a much different world a year later."
Rosenman hopes to pull in enough sponsors that they won't have to charge for tickets. "A lot of the venues we're looking at would require the event to be free since they're on public property," he says. "Our current thinking is that if we do charge for tickets, the prices would way below market." No acts have been booked, but they hope many of the bands that played the 1969 event will return. "I'd love to see Crosby, Stills and Nash and the Who and maybe Joe Cocker," he says. "When it comes to music of today, there are a number of acts to chose from. The A&R of today is not something my partners or I really take charge of. Instead, we can actually go online and find out from our actual audience who they'd like in the lineup."
Has the legacy of Woodstock '99 — which ended in bonfires and riots — made it difficult to get another one off the ground? "Hundreds of thousands of people had a great time at the last one," says Rosenman. "There were some who didn't. There is no Woodstock that we've had that has been uniformly regarded." Despite the setbacks, Rosenman has little doubt the show will happen — eventually. "There will be a Woodstock and it will be massive," says Rosenman. "We must do it responsibility and with the right kind of message. If we don't see those elements coming together, we'll keep working until they do."
To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here
MUSIC 9 Classic Devo Videos
OLYMPICS 18 Epic Opening Ceremonies