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30-Plus Acts Slated for Woodstock '99

April 09, 1999|GEOFF BOUCHER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In 1969, the Woodstock festival was a chaotic, muddy and sensual celebration of the counterculture, whose axiom was "don't trust anyone over 30."

In 1999, as Woodstock itself turns 30, the times have clearly changed. This year's anniversary edition, to be staged July 23-25, includes pop acts, a film festival, extreme-sports competitions and--to the delight of longtime organizers--an ironic venue: a former Air Force base in upstate New York.

Alanis Morissette, Metallica, Sheryl Crow, Jewel, Aerosmith, Willie Nelson, the Offspring and two dozen other acts have been tapped for the festival, and others--including Guns N' Roses, making a much-anticipated reemergence--may be added, organizers said this week.

Tickets will be $150 for the three days and go on sale April 18 through Ticketmaster.

Woodstock '99 will be staged at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, N.Y., where concertgoers will find a 240-acre campground, two stages (one featuring headliners, the second for emerging talent), all-night raves, a "cybercafe," 2,000 portable toilets and a "car wash for people," a large rinsing machine that acknowledges the festival's rainy, mud-caked history.

Other confirmed acts include Bush, Counting Crows, DMX, Everlast, Fatboy Slim, Foo Fighters, Ice Cube, Korn, Los Lobos, the Dave Matthews Band, Rage Against the Machine, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sugar Ray.

The bill targets fans who were born more than a decade after the festival made history when 500,000 fans camped out to hear Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Jefferson Airplane and others.

But producer Michael Lang, whose history with the event dates back to the original staging at Max Yasgur's farm, said the Woodstock name and spirit still resonate with today's youth. He pointed to the 25th anniversary festival in 1994, which drew an estimated 350,000 fans and spawned a million-selling double album.

"It's a seminal event, a rite of passage," Lang said. "It's not just a sequel or a repeat, it's an original event for [the new fans] and a chance for them to find a community."

Lang noted that the setting of this year's event provides some sly satisfaction for the peace-movement veterans of the festival.

"Swords into plowshares," he said. "It's nice."

Louie Perez, drummer for Los Lobos, said that he was initially skeptical of a Woodstock revival concept, but that he eventually embraced the idea.

"It's an incredible vibe, we're excited," Perez said. "It's not rehashing . . . it's reinventing, bringing contemporary artists and fans together in a community under the banner of Woodstock."

As in 1994, organizers are planning for a crowd of 250,000, and, to deter the legions of scofflaws who hopped fences last time, 12-foot steel and plywood fences are promised.

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