The list of Woodstock '99 performers keeps growing, with less than two weeks before the festival is scheduled to kick off. But organizers have had to address concerns that the event might be canceled over permit issues.
British pop singer/songwriter Elvis Costello, soul singer Al Green and piano-rock ensemble the Bruce Hornsby Group were just added to an already lengthy roster of talent scheduled to play during the three-day music festival set for July 23-25 at Griffiss Air Force Base, a decommissioned military installation in the Oneida County town of Rome, N.Y.
According to event publicist Elizabeth Chanley, hip-hop group the Roots and metal bands Megadeth and Sevendust have been officially added to the bill, as was rumored last week. But Chanley countered another rumor, saying an appearance by former Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell is not officially confirmed for Woodstock '99, though she acknowledged organizers have spoken to Farrell about performing a DJ set on the festival's rave stage.
Last week, the artists' publicists and a source close to the festival confirmed punk band the Supersuckers, Native American blues band Indigenous and Australian singer/songwriter Ben Lee as playing the event. But there's been no official announcement to that effect.
A published report in the July 9 Syracuse Post-Standard said the festival organizers must pay $1.48 million in fines by Thursday or risk the event's cancellation. But Woodstock founder and producer Michael Lang and Oneida County administrator Ralph J. Eannace, Jr., issued a joint statement late last week that the festival is not actually in jeopardy and the fine would be paid.
"The reality of planning an event as large as Woodstock '99 is that there are innumerable details and conditions that must be attended to and addressed at each step of the festival planning process," Lang said in that statement. "Nonetheless, our entire staff has consistently worked diligently to meet each and every condition required of them ... without jeopardizing the safety, quality or integrity of the event."
The Oneida County Health Department began levying fines on the Woodstock production company in late May after organizers missed deadlines for addressing the event's food and transportation concerns including obtaining a liquor license according to the Post-Standard.
Eannace said the fines should not affect festival-goers' decisions one way or the other.
"We expect to resolve all permit issues quickly. We are looking forward to a safe and successful event," Eannace said in his part of the statement.
Costello played concerts in the U.S. in May and June, including the four dates of the Guinness Fleadh festival. The singer/songwriter made his reputation as the angry young man of new-wave rock in the '70s with albums such as My Aim Is True and This Year's Model and songs including the ballad "Alison." Last year, he released Painted From Memory, a Grammy-winning album that paired him with American pop tunesmith Burt Bacharach. The album, for which Costello wrote lyrics and some of the music, included such passionate songs as "Toledo"
Green a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame became famous in the 1970s through a string of lush soul songs. Among his hits were "Let's Stay Together," "I'm Still in Love With You" and "Tired of Being Alone"
(RealAudio excerpt). Chanley said Green, who abandoned pop music in favor of gospel for most of two decades starting in the late 1970s, would be the lead performer July 25.
Hornsby won a Grammy in 1986 for Best New Artist with his former band, the Range. He enjoyed a hit that year with the song "The Way It Is." In the years since, he has written songs for other people, including Don Henley's 1989 recording "The End of the Innocence," and has played with the Grateful Dead. Last year, Hornsby released Spirit Trail, an album that included the song "Great Divide" (RealAudio excerpt).