HARTFORD, CT — The official Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration in New York was canceled, but the one in Woodstock, Connecticut organized by Gov. Ned Lamont will still be happening later this month.
The four-hour concert on Aug. 30 at the Woodstock fairgrounds will be a battle between five bands who were selected from more than 60 entries.
Lamont and Sen. George Logan will be two of the five judges. First place will get $7,500, second place will get $5,000, third will get $2,500 and fourth and fifth will get $1,000, according to Deputy Communications Director Rob Blanchard.
There’s no state money involved. Lamont is using his own money, about $30,000, for the event.
The bands will only be allowed to play songs that were played at the original Woodstock.
Lamont put the concert idea out there for the first time publicly at his “transition policy summit” at Eastern Connecticut State University last November.
“I see it’s the 50th anniversary of Woodstock,” Lamont said on Nov. 27, 2018. “There’s some amazing Woodstock tribute bands out there. We have a town called Woodstock. Maybe we should host our own Woodstock 50th anniversary festival.”
Lamont envisioned the event as a boost to economic development through arts and music.
During a recent visit to the fairgrounds in June Lamont declined to speculate about the size of the crowd.
“The more the merrier. I’m looking right out there and we’ve got room for thousands of people. You can re-create some pretty good feelings right in Woodstock Connecticut,” Lamont said.
The organizers of the agricultural fair said attendance over four days usually reaches 175,000, but Friday is one of the slower days.
Now that the official concert has been canceled Lamont and his staff are hoping turnout for Connecticut’s Woodstock will be better. It’s in conjunction with the 159th Woodstock Fair.
Lamont, who didn’t get to go to Woodstock in 1969, wants young people to attend the concert.
Blanchard said they have also reached out to music departments at the state universities and have invited the students to attend as Lamont’s guests.
There will also be concert T-shirts available, but it’s unclear where the proceeds from the sales will go. Those details are still being worked out.