Woodstock '99 Set For Europe

Plans for Woodstock '99, a massive music extravaganza to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the historic 1969 festival is being solidified in Europe, although it appears the U.S. version still needs a more few I's dotted and T's crossed. Billboard reports that original festival co-founder Michael Lang, who also organized the Woodstock 1994 event, is planning a massive concert in Europe one week in advance of an American event which is also being organized by Lang.

The European extravaganza will run July 16 to 18 in Wiener-Neustadt, 25 miles outside Vienna. The publication reports that the festivities will include 100 acts on four stages in an area designed to hold 300,000 people. A sign of the times, they are also including "Kid Stock" features as well as other attractions. The initial artists are expected to be announced in January.

The U.S. Woodstock '99 is being planned for July 23 to 25 in Saugerties, New York, assuming Lang receives all his necessary permits.

A town council meeting in Saugerties earlier this week outlined a number of new regulations and restrictions the festival organizers must meet. Lang and crew, operating as Woodstock Ventures (the original name of the organizing body in 1969), have not formally submitted their application, but it's expected to be approved when they do.

If so, the show will again be mounted at the 900-acre Winston Farms that hosted 350,000 people in 1994. The area is seven miles from the town of Woodstock. The original site, Yasgur Farm in Bethel, N.Y., was actually an hour's drive from Woodstock.

There is some confusion regarding the Woodstock festivities. A rival celebration is expected to be held at the original site in Bethel in the week of the actual anniversary -- the event was first staged August 15 to 18, 1969. Most of the Yasgur land is now controlled by multi-millionaire Allan Gerry's non-profit Gerry Foundation, which staged the "Day in the Garden" event there last year.

(see: Day In The Garden Ticket Prices Cut After Sluggish Sales). At that time, Gerry called his event "the beginning of a renaissance" for the property. In addition to the anniversary celebration, the land is also expected to eventually host some one-day concerts.

Meanwhile, both Woodstock '99 and Day In the Garden are being protested by Woodstock purists. They favor a free "friends of the farm" event over the commercial ventures currently on the table, and have been planning their own gatherings in the area. The group has been meeting at the farmhouse previously owned by the late Max Yasgar, which does not fall under Gerry's holdings.