The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Fiftieth anniversary of Woodstock has fans wary about act lineup

3 min read
By DALEY JENNINGS Staff Writer On Nov. 8 of last year, it was announced that a fiftieth anniversary concert of the Woodstock was in the works, sparking excitement in the rock community.



Staff Writer

On Nov. 8 of last year, it was announced that a fiftieth anniversary concert of the Woodstock was in the works, sparking excitement in the rock community. Since then the speculated concert has gone through many changes. It is now going to be a three-day event with a concert each day, each one standing for love, peace and music, which were the main themes of the original Woodstock.  

Ever since the rumored lineup of the concerts has been on the internet, there has been criticism of the chosen artists, some of the biggest ones being Jay-Z and Imagine Dragons. Purists of the original festival have voiced concerns of the festival simply turning into any other kind of music gathering you would find in 2019, some comparing it to DC101’s Lollapalooza or Coachella, another greatly anticipated music festival. 

Woodstock dropped the official lineup of the three-day event on its website, and confirmed Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z would be performing, although on separate days, as well as big name artists such as Janelle Monae, Haley, Robert Plant, Dead & Company and Chance the Rapper. 

The announcement was met with the same criticism that had been circulating previously, as well as criticism online of the show organizers not capturing the original concept of the concert, which was a movement for peace during the Vietnam War.

Junior music major, Ana Oleinick, believes that a lot of the backlash is unfounded, but is still wary of how modern music may come into effect.

“Since the artists rely heavily on electronic music, it can easily become reminiscent of a ‘typical’ music festival. I believe people are critiquing the concept because it was such a historical event- one that changed the way the country viewed the counterculture movement, politics and music itself,” said Olenick.

After seeing the lineup, Oleinick did see some remnants of the original peace, love and music concept.

“Miley [Cyrus] is a known activist in the pacifist community. She’s performed at many other related marches and events, as well as advertising the vegan lifestyle and animal right campaigns. Her brand is titled Happy Hippie, so I do believe she fits the criterion,” Olenick said.

Artists supposedly not matching the criteria of what the original Woodstock stood for is seems to be the most common complaint about the whole event, but it is hard to recapture the political atmosphere at the time of the Vietnam War.

Junior English major, Makayla Harrington, agrees with the majority of the internet that the lineup missed the beat in keeping with the themes of the original Woodstock.

“I think the lineup isn’t on par with what everyone was expecting. It seems like they sacrificed the classic rock and roll style bands for just the most popular names they could get,” said Harrington

Few artists have responded to the criticism online. Halsey, who is slated to perform the third day along with the artists such as Imagine Dragons and Cage the Elephant, addressed the criticism in a tweet days after the lineup had been released.

“The Woodstock lineup seems to be a bit divisive. But I am very honored to be included in a lineup of artists who all appear to be constantly influencing culture or representing social activism. Using their voices. That’s Woodstock to me (sunflower emoji) I’m honored and I can’t wait.”

While none of the other artists have commented or reacted to the backlash, many other people are commenting on Twitter with one tweet claiming that the lineup “looks like it was curated by someone who’s only exposure to music has been through the Grammy’s ‘Best Rock Performance’ category between 2010-2013.”

Woodstock 50 is going to be held in Watkins Glen New York from Aug. 16 – 18. Tickets for the event are expected to become available on Apr. 22.