A Day in the Garden, the first rock event staged on Max Yasgur's farm since Woodstock in 1969, has nothing - and everything - to do with that pop-culture milestone.
The confirmed concerts, on Aug. 14 and 15 (an Aug. 16 bill will be announced within 10 days), coincide with Woodstock's 29th anniversary and crib from its marquee. Woodstock alumni Pete Townshend (then with the Who), Ten Years After and Richie Havens are booked, as is Joni Mitchell, who penned the after-the-fact theme song Woodstock.
But the W-word is conspicuously absent from the Garden campaign, which isn't sanctioned by the Woodstock trademark's owners. Nor is Garden expected to lure the half-million fans who descended on Bethel, N.Y., in '69 or the 400,000 who went to Woodstock '94 in nearby Saugerties, N.Y.
Gate-crashers, who plagued both events, are unwelcome.
"Don't show up thinking you can walk right in," says executive producer Danny Socolof. "We plan a gracious, wonderful, safe and comfortable event for people willing to pay. If you don't have a ticket, you won't get in."
The concerts, also featuring Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Lou Reed and Ziggy Marley (the added third day will tout newer acts), will be simulcast on the Internet but not aired on pay-per-view or radio. Daily attendance will be limited to 30,000. Already, fans in 30 states are buying the $69.98 tickets, available from Ticketmaster.
"The Woodstock magic is working again," Socolof says. "People want to reconnect with that vibe."
Organizers assured nervous Bethel residents that the event will be civilized and could trigger a renaissance in economically hard-hit Sullivan County. Socolof envisions Garden as a big step toward the long-term goal of building a performing-arts complex on the site.