Woodstock '99 Will Bring Hip-Hop Into The Mix

Rappers DMX, Ice Cube and rockers Metallica, Korn among acts announced for rock fest's 30th anniversary.

Woodstock will celebrate its 30th anniversary in July partly with a form of

music that didn't even exist when the original festival was held in 1969.

The promoters of Woodstock '99 -- the third edition of the festival -- revealed

a schedule of 31 artists Thursday (April 8). It includes more than a few

hip-hoppers and hip-hop-influenced bands.

Among those signed to perform are rappers DMX, Everlast and former N.W.A

member Ice Cube; rap-influenced metal bands Korn, Rage Against the Machine

and Limp Bizkit; and funk rockers George Clinton and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

"It's very important to us, musically, that this is not your parents'

Woodstock," said John Scher, the president of the Metropolitan Entertainment

Group, which is co-promoting Woodstock '99 with festival founder Michael Lang.

"Hip-hop is a very important part of our contemporary culture," Scher

said.

The festival, to be held July 23-25 at Griffiss Technology Park in Rome,

N.Y., also will sport a rave stage for techno acts. DJ/producer Fatboy

Slim will appear there, while electronica mavens the Chemical Brothers

have expressed an interest in playing the main stage, according to Lang.

More conventional rockers will be on the bill, too, including

Metallica, the Dave Matthews Band and Alanis Morissette.

Around 250,000 people are expected to attend Woodstock '99, to be held

170 miles west of the original festival's Bethel, N.Y., location. The

Rome site is a former Air Force base. Tickets for the three days will

cost $150, and will go on sale April 25. Lang said bus-and-ticket packages

would be offered starting April 18.

Missing from the bill thus far are veteran artists who played at the

original Woodstock, held Aug. 15-17, 1969. While Joe Cocker, Crosby,

Stills and Nash and members of the Band performed at Woodstock '94, none

has signed on to play this year's festival.

Scher and Lang said they are negotiating with John Fogerty, who appeared

at the original festival as part of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Lang said as many as 15 more acts could be added to the talent roster;

he also said he intends to stage a Woodstock every five years.

"We feel that five years gives us enough time to determine where the

music is at," he said. "It's different enough and interesting enough to

be generational."

"Five years is an interesting break in your life," Scher added. "We want

to stage a music festival that's relevant to the core audience that

comes."

That would explain the presence of various musicians who weren't on the

radar when the last Woodstock was held. They are led by DMX, currently

performing songs such as "Fuckin' Wit D"

(RealAudio excerpt) as part of the "Hard Knock Life" Tour with Jay-Z,

Method Man and Redman.

Another of those bands is Korn, whose current single is "Freak on a Leash"

(RealAudio excerpt). The Bakersfield, Calif., band has blazed a trail

for the new eclectic Woodstock by headlining last year's Family Values

tour, which featured Korn along with fellow Woodstock acts Limp Bizkit

and Ice Cube. (Family Values: The Biggest Show of Stars for '98,

a memento from that tour, debuted this week at #7 on the Billboard

200 albums chart.)

Despite its urban leanings, the Woodstock '99 lineup still has plenty of

conventional rock acts. Modern-rock bands Creed, Counting Crows, the

Offspring, Collective Soul, Foo Fighters, Bush, Live and Sugar Ray will

appear, as will improvisational acts including the Dave

Matthews Band, Rusted Root, moe and Guster.

Metallica, who played the 1994 festival in Saugerties, N.Y., will return

this year, along with folk-rocker Sheryl Crow.

The lineup also has its quirks. Mexican-American rock band Los Lobos,

country singer Willie Nelson, swing band the Brian Setzer Orchestra and

popular Canadian rockers the Tragically Hip are on the bill.

Scher said the inclusion of Tragically Hip and Alanis Morissette was a

recognition of the festival's likely Canadian audience. "Both of these

artists are vitally, vitally important," he said. "The Tragically Hip,

they're right, spiritually, for Woodstock."

Lang said he was not worried about the logistical problems that plagued

the 1994 outing, including parking difficulties and ticket restrictions that

led to 100,000 people crashing the gate. Also, because of the heavy rain,

some of the bathroom facilities sunk into the mud and the doors couldn't be

opened.

"For us, [1994] was a big learning curve," Lang said. "The experience of

the crowd there is what we took with us this time."

Griffiss Technology Park is a 3,600-acre site. Scher said it was built to keep

military secrets secure, and the site's concrete walls should prevent

fans from entering without tickets.