The original poster for the 1969 Woodstock festival reads “3 days of peace and music” — two things desperately needed at the time. The United States was nearing the end of its involvement in the Vietnam War, a decades-long controversial and unnerving affair. Some Americans abided by the nuclear-family, white-picket-fence lifestyle while others threw away convention and joined the growing counterculture movement.
Although many things have changed in the past 50 years, the country’s division hasn’t, and so, once again, a music festival in upstate New York is urging us to put it all aside for three days.
As a festival that celebrates inclusion and love, Woodstock 50 stays on brand with a diverse range of artists and genres. Millennial rock fans have The Killers, The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant. Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, Vince Staples and Common hold it down for hip-hop heads. Older concert-goers can enjoy Dead and Company, Santana or former lead singer of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant.
The all-over-the-place lineup is a bit hard to digest at first — seeing Run the Jewels next to The Head and the Heart made me rub my eyes and refresh the page — but the idea is mass appeal. Woodstock can take the risk of putting whoever it wants on stage because, while people will be coming for the music, the nostalgia factor is quite a selling point. It’s a chance for young people to relive one of the most culturally significant events of the last century.
Partly because of this nostalgia, the flaws of the 1969 Woodstock festival have been forgotten. Lack of concert organization, proper food and waste removal facilities plagued the festival. The rainy weather exacerbated sanitation issues as attendees found themselves partying, dancing and sleeping in mud.
Woodstock was the 1969 equivalent of Fyre Festival, except musicians actually performed. Thankfully, event planning has progressed a lot in the half-century since the original, and Woodstock 50 should be more equipped than its predecessor.
[Read more: Netflix vs. Hulu: Who won the Fyre Festival?]
Variety pointed out one glaring error of a band that should’ve made the list, but didn’t — The Who. Besides being a big act, the English rock band performed at the 1969 festival and is one of the only ones on the bill that is still active. The band cited its massive summer tour as a conflict, and I don’t blame them — most likely, there won’t be many fans of theirs present, especially compared to 50 years prior.
In the spirit of peace, music and good causes, Woodstock 50 has partnered with charitable organizations such as Hiring America, which supports veterans reentering the workforce; HeadCount, a voting advocacy group; and March for Our Lives. It is unclear if they’re directly making any money from the festival, as the Woodstock site simply links to the organizations’ websites. Either way, the festival seems committed to ensuring Woodstock 50 has the same spirit of social change of the original.
Woodstock 50 takes place August 16-18 and tickets go on sale April 22. Check out their colorful website to learn more.