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The ‘bizarre trip’ that was almost Woodstock 50

Shortly after Woodstock organizers announced the shambolic 50th anniversary concerts were off after months of setbacks and holdups, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang summed up the drama in six words: “It’s been a really bizarre trip.”

Over the last six months, Lang, 74, moved like a cat using all nine lives to make Woodstock 50 work. The first plan, to have an all-star concert with the likes of Jay-Z, Dead & Company, the Killers and more in Watkins Glen, New York, some 115 miles (185 kilometers) northwest of the original 1969 concert – was scuttled after the venue backed out. Then the plan was to have it in Vernon, New York, but organizers couldn’t get a permit. Lang finally found a location that would work – all the way in Maryland – but artists started to pull out of the festival and he decided to scrap the event and the anniversary concerts altogether.

“What can I say?” Lang said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “It’s not been surprising that we weren’t able to pull this off.”

If Lang could go back and do things differently, he says, he would have tried to get permits earlier. And he would have worked with a different financial partner.

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