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Shut up old people, Woodstock’s not for you

By | Published on Tuesday 26 March 2019

Festival Crowd

Anyone thinking about complaining that the upcoming Woodstock 50th anniversary festival isn’t enough of a carbon copy of the original 1969 event should stop that right now. That’s what organiser Michael Lang reckons, anyway. Actually, he said you should “get over it”, but it amounts to the same thing.

Since the line-up for the anniversary event – which features acts including Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Chance The Rapper, The Raconteurs, and more – was announced last week, people have come up with all sorts of gripes. You know, like people always do. One gripe is that the line-up is heavy on new acts and not those who played the original event.

While pointing out that there are some older artists on the bill – like Robert Plant and Santana – Lang, who was one of the organisers of the first Woodstock, tells TMZ that they could only accommodate “some of the heritage acts out that who are still performing and are still great”. Ultimately, though, they wanted the festival to be “a contemporary show for the audience that we’re expecting, which is young”.

“We cannot just have an oldies show”, he goes on. “This is not [Coachella spin-off] Desert Trip, this is really a contemporary Woodstock for today. The reason for it really is based around the social issues that we’re dealing with. That’s sustainability and activism and sort of trying to re-steer where the world seems to be heading”.

Lang has previously criticised other contemporary US festivals for “missing an opportunity to make a difference in the world”. He says he wants to revive the spirit of protest – then against the Vietnam War – that was part of the original Woodstock. “We were a generation that felt very empowered to bring change to the world”, he says.

Despite hoping that Woodstock 2019 might inspire a new generation to bring change to the world – and even though the issues facing young people today are likely to be a lot longer term than the Vietnam War – this revival of the Woodstock name is still only a one-off event.

“It’s not something we’re planning on doing every year”, say Lang. So, let’s just hope the world changing effect is quick.