Jay-Z, the Killers, Chance the Rapper, Black Keys, Robert Plant, Halsey and Miley Cyrus are among the artists booked for Woodstock 50 as organizers revealed the Watkins Glen, New York festival’s full lineup.
Dead and Company, John Fogerty, Santana, John Sebastian, Country Joe Mcdonald, Canned Heat and Hot Tuna – all acts that took part in the 1969 festival – are all on the lineup for the festival, which takes place August 16th through 18th, the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock.
“It’ll be an eclectic bill,” festival organizer Michael Lang previously promised Rolling Stone of Woodstock 50. “It’ll be hip-hop and rock and some pop and some of the legacy bands from the original festival … I want it to be multi-generational. Woodstock ’94 was a nice mix of young and old and that’s kind of what we’re going for here.”
The final lineup lives up to Lang’s promise with hip-hop (Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels, Common, Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Princess Nokia), rock (the Raconteurs, Greta Van Fleet, Black Keys, Cage the Elephant, Courtney Barnett, Boygenius, Gary Clark Jr.), pop (Miley Cyrus, Maggie Rogers, Halsey, Janelle Monae) and country (Anderson East, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, Brandi Carlile).
The festival’s official lineup comes just five months before Woodstock 50 opens at Watkins Glen, 150 miles west of the original festival site; the unaffiliated Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, with Ringo Starr and Santana, will take place at the site of the Woodstock ’69 on the same dates.
Woodstock 50 previously fought off rumors that organizers were hamstrung by money and production woes. “We are thrilled with all the excitement about Woodstock 50, but we have an obligation to our fans, artists and partners, to do things the right way,” Lang said in an e-mail statement. “We are in the final stages of laying the groundwork and can’t wait to stage this once-in-a-lifetime event. We’ll be officially announcing the lineup and ticket on-sale soon, stay tuned!”
The festival was formally announced by Fogerty, Common and Woodstock co-founder Lang at New York’s Electric Lady Studios on Tuesday evening. Amazingly, it was the first time that Lang had stepped foot in the studio since he was there with Jimi Hendrix a little under 50 years ago. After reflecting back on the original festival with comedy writer Alan Zweibel, Lang explained why he decided to revive the event. “What we’ve assembled here is a combination of some of the great artists from our era and many of the great artists of today and hopefully some of the great artists of tomorrow,” he said. “Many of these artists are committed to social change, have their own issues that they support, but also support these global issues of climate change and Black Lives Matter.”
Fogerty then explained why he, unlike the Who’s Roger Daltrey, wanted to go back to Woodstock. “I don’t expect it to be the same,” he said. “The mood in the country is different, similar in many respects, but different. I’m very glad that I’m able to be here 50 years later celebrating it. I hope to have a great time. I’m going to be playing most of the same songs that I played then. I’ve had a few more songs since then. But I think culturally, for me, it resonates because it was such a watershed moment in the time of my generation.”
After a short break, Fogerty played a mini-set that included “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?,” “Who Will Stop The Rain?” (which was partially inspired by Woodstock), “Bad Moon Rising” and “Fortunate Son.” Some of the set was played on the same 1969 Rickenbacker 325 Sunburst guitar that he played at the original Woodstock. He gave the guitar away in 1973, but was reunited with it at Christmas just a couple of years ago. When he was done, Common wrapped up the event with his large band. He opened with his 2007 song “Finding Forever,” which includes a live sample of the drum beat from Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To leave Your Love.” “We’re here in the spirit of Woodstock,” he told the crowd. “In the spirit of peace, love, justice and equality.”
Along with its lineup, Woodstock 50 also announced a wide variety of non-profit partners. The list include environmental groups such as Conservation International and the Dolphin Project, as well as organizations geared towards social issues such as Cyrus’ Happy Hippie Foundation and the March for Our Lives. Other non-profit partners include Hiring America, HeadCount and Reform Alliance.
Woodstock 50 Lineup
Day 1: The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, Robert Plant, John Fogerty, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Run the Jewels, The Head and the Heart, Maggie Rogers, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Anderson East, Princess Nokia, John Sebastian
Day 2: Dead and Company, Chance the Rapper, Black Keys, Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Portugal. The Man, Leon Bridges, Gary Clark Jr., Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Dawes, Margo Price, Country Joe, Rival Sons, Emily King, Soccer Mommy, Taylor Bennett
Day 3: Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Cage The Elephant, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monae, Young The Giant, Courtney Barnett, Common, Vince Staples, Judah and the Lion, Earl Sweatshirt, Boygenius, the Zombies, Canned Heat, Hot Tuna, Pussy Riot, Cherry Glazerr
Additional reporting by Andy Greene