Woodstock 99 was not the last time organizers attempted to recreate the iconic 1969 festival. There have been at least three attempts to bring Woodstock back to the masses, to varying degrees of success.
One of the most disastrous attempts was examined on Netflix docuseries “Trainwreck: Woodstock 99.” Each episode of the three-part series was dedicated to one day of the festival, which showed how organizer Michael Lang and promoter John Scher failed to recreate the historic festival known for peace and love. The Woodstock 99 festival ended with riots, fires, dozens of injuries and three deaths.
Lang was asked on the documentary, “Will there be another Woodstock?” He responded that the 1999 festival would likely be the last.
David Crosby told Rolling Stone in the days after Woodstock 50 was cancelled that Woodstock cannot be recreated through a moneymaking endeavor.
“You can’t ‘magic’ one of these [Woodstocks] into happening, and that’s what they tried to do with this,” he told Rolling Stone. “It had nothing to do with anybody feeling good about each other. It had to do with certain people making a huge amount of money. That’s a grubby way to start in the first place. It’s not a motivation that brings out the very best in people.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Woodstock Organizer Michael Lang Made a Final Attempt to Bring Woodstock Back for a 50th Anniversary in 2019
While the Netflix documentary said there would likely never be another Woodstock, Lang attempted to revive the festival for a 50th anniversary, Woodstock 50, in 2019. The proposed lineup would have included Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, the Killers, Chance the Rapper, Santana and Imagine Dragons, The New York Times reported.
“But the event collapsed amid a legal battle with its financial backer, an arm of the Japanese advertising conglomerate Dentsu,” the article said.
Rolling Stone reported that Woodstock 50 was “already in deep trouble” a month before it was announced. It was scheduled for August 16 to 18, 2019, almost exactly 50 years after the original festival.
Woodstock 94 Lost Money Due to Gate Crashers & Poor Security But Woodstock 69 Remains Cast in History as a Celebration of Peace & Love
Lang and other organizers were attempting to cut costs after a financially disastrous 1994 Woodstock reboot, in which more than half the attendees were gate crashers. To help ramp up security and cut down the possibility of gate crashers, organizers decided to hold the festival at a decommissioned air force base in Rome, New York called Griffiss Air Force Base.
Interviewees on the three-part documentary series said the bunkers and concrete did not exactly scream “peace and love,” but the setting also proved dangerous for festivalgoers looking for shade on days where the temperatures were exceeding 100 degrees. One person, David DeRosia, died from a heat-related illness.
Those who attended Woodstock 69 continue to remember it as an important experience in their lives. Bobbi and Nick Ercoline, the couple whose image with was made famous on the cover of the 1970 live album, “Woodstock: Music from the Original Soundtrack and More,” told NPR that times have changed but memories of Woodstock 69 have not. The couple remains married 50 years later.
“I’m just very grateful to be a very small part of Woodstock,” Bobbi told NPR. “There’s a lot of sadness and viciousness and selfishness in today’s world and there was none of that at Woodstock.”