WENY News - Woodstock 50th Anniversary Comes to Watkins Glen

Woodstock 50th Anniversary Comes to Watkins Glen

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WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (WENY) -- In a Rolling Stone Magazine article on Wednesday, speculation became a reality for the Watkins Glen region. Woodstock's 50th anniversary concert will be hosted at Watkins Glen International in August!

The highly anticipated concert was confirmed Wednesday afternoon. It's scheduled for August 16th through the 18th at the track. But why was Watkins Glen International (WGI) chosen? The Director of Communications for the track says the co-producer and co-founder of the original 1969 Woodstock, Michael Lang, wanted to keep the festival in New York. 

"He said it had kind of outgrown Bethel Woods and kind of wanted to have a Woodstock type feel to it, and I think our facility lends itself to that," said Watkins Glen International Director of Communications, Chris Banker. 

In an article from the Rolling Stone, they confirmed over 40 performers have been booked already. But no names have been released. Officials at WGI say they're ready to handle the high volume of people Woodstock will bring to the Finger Lakes region.

"We've already been in discussions with our local and state officials trying to make sure this is a seamless event," said Banker. "Safety is obviously paramount. I know Michael Printup is already been in meetings with folks in law enforcement making sure this thing is put on the right way."

The news is spreading fast through the business community , too. Nickel's Pit BBQ in Downtown Watkins Glen is a hot spot for locals year-round. Owner Nick Thayer says an event like Woodstock will not only mean more business, but more business opportunities, as well. 

"First and foremost we're really excited to develop some partnerships with the track and really make it an event that highlights the whole community, and not just the track and not just the town. It really brings everything together and that's kind of the spirit of Woodstock anyway!" Thayer says. 

People who live in the community are just as eager for what's being dubbed 'Woodstock50' - hoping it will put the Watkins Glen area on the national stage. 

"This area's like famous for it's race history and even like the wineries, but like the music? The music is just going to be the craziest part of it! And with Phish not coming here next year - this next year is going to  be like the craziest year when it comes to music in Watkins Glen!" says Cole Bliss, who lives in Watkins Glen. 

"It's great to put ourselves in people's minds that maybe wouldn't be here for any other reason. Or maybe, you know, way down the road, they'll recognize our brand or think that maybe they'd like to come back and visit another time, so it's really great to get the exposure and it's really fun to have a different group of people in town as well," adds Thayer. 

Last summer the Curveball concert had to be canceled because the track couldn't provide people access to safe water due to flooding days before. This time around, track officials say they're prepared. 

"We are very confident in the planning that's been done and in the work that's been done both here and throughout the area that that won't be an issue moving forward," said Banker.

As for Schuyler County Administrator, Tim O'Hearn says they have a lot of planning to do to help bring this show to life. 

"The traffic concerns," said Schuyler County Administrator, Timothy O'Hearn. "There are also a public health concerns, making sure there's adequate water and sewer needs met, as well as public safety issues. Law enforcement, fire, medical, all of those things need to be factored in."

Tickets for the concert will go on sale in February. To find out how you can purchase tickets, and who will be playing, be sure to keep checking Woodstock.com.

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