Can music fans expect Woodstock festival to expand to other countries?

As Woodstock approaches its 50th anniversary, with a three-day festival set to take place in Watkins Glen, New York, in August, Mr Michael Lang is planning a global expansion.
As Woodstock approaches its 50th anniversary, with a three-day festival set to take place in Watkins Glen, New York, in August, Mr Michael Lang is planning a global expansion.PHOTO: WOODSTOCK/FACEBOOK

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - It was the summer of love, not the summer of profit.

In 1969, Mr Michael Lang and his partners at Woodstock Ventures took a loss on the original Woodstock festival. Today, he is a savvier businessman.

As Woodstock approaches its 50th anniversary, with a three-day festival set to take place in Watkins Glen, New York, in August, he is planning a global expansion with financing and marketing assistance from Dentsu Aegis Network, a subsidiary of Japanese advertising behemoth Dentsu.

The new Woodstock will be held annually in a different country each year, and he has held talks with Japan, Brazil and Spain.

"My plan was not to start a yearly Woodstock festival. There are enough festivals," Mr Lang said. Most, however, are "cookie-cutter" and more about social media posts than appreciating music or raising awareness about important social causes.

He noted that the business of Woodstock is necessary to spread the message of Woodstock. Peace and love need to be packaged and sold.

"It's all really geared towards engaging people," he said. "Get involved. I see global warming as a real global threat."

The new festival will feature a "Goodstock" area where attendees can interact with organisations like gun-control group March For Our Lives and environmental entity Conservation International.

 
 

But not everything is running smoothly for the new festival.

Booking talent has been difficult. Mr Lang tried to lock down Bruno Mars but the performer was unavailable. And his attempt to nab Lady Gaga proved unsuccessful after she rode the hype from A Star Is Born right into a Las Vegas residency.

He has booked Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus along with acts from the original Woodstock such as Carlos Santana.

Mr Lang said tickets would cost around US$450 (S$613) and were originally set to go on sale on April 22, before being delayed.