The greatest festival of all time is coming back. (Illustration by Hannah Delmore, Kent State University) 
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This August’s 50-year Woodstock reunion will feature some of the biggest names in the industry, but who?

If there was ever a music event so iconic and revolutionary in its nature, it was Woodstock. Its visions of peace, chords of amplified guitar riffs and an endless sea of tie-dye flooded festival grounds will live forever. Woodstock, at its core, represented an idealistic solution for the chaos exploding outside the wire fences. Today, we wear imprints of its legacy on Walmart t-shirts, but soon enough, we will be able to relive the magic.

That’s right, Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary concert is officially on. Woodstock 50 will be a three-day concert commemorating the 1969 Woodstock Music And Arts Fair, and will be hosted by the original co-creator, Michael Lang. It will be taking over Watkins Glen, New York, from Aug. 16-18.

The OG 1969 Woodstock festival featured performances by The Who, Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and many others. While the official lineup for Woodstock 50 has yet to be released, there have been quite a few artist leaks, further fueling anticipation for the soon-to-be most legendary event of 2019. Here are some of the bands and artists whose names have been circulating around the music scene and what they can bring to the main stage.

1. Jay Z

In the ‘90s, Jay Z helped revolutionize hip hop, so if he did perform, I would hope to hear some of his most iconic bops, such as “99 Problems,” “Hard Knock Life” or “Where I’m From.” The New York native would definitely bring some old-school prestige and spit-fire lyricism to the famous festival.

Hip hop was not a genre represented at the 1969 festival, but in an interview with Variety, Michael Lang said that he will book “the biggest names and emerging talents in rock, hip-hop, pop and country.” He also says the lineup will be “primarily contemporary talent, but legacy acts will be represented and honored.” Will audiences be honored enough with a performance from hip-hop royalty and perhaps Queen Bey?

2. Chance the Rapper

Fresh off the release of a few new singles like “65th and Ingleside,” “My Own Thing” (featuring Joey Purp) and “The Man Who Has Everything,” Chance has kept himself busy since his splash onto the rap scene back in 2016. His album “Coloring Book” reached critical acclaim and made headlines for its free, streaming-only nature.

Chance’s versatility allows him to enchant both his audiences and his free agent status in the music industry. On his NPR Tiny Desk Concert, Chance showcases his sentimentality in a performance of a self-written poem. For Woodstock 50, Chance could go either way with his music: hyping the crowd up with a powerful performance of “No Problem” or a touching rendition of “Juke Jam” to commemorate the passing of time.

3. The Black Keys

The Black Keys are a testament to rock ‘n’ roll’s ability to stand the test of time. The bluesy, grunge rock duo of Dan Auerbach (guitar, vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums) first got their start in 2001, and while have no exact connection to the 1969 Woodstock festival, their music is a perfect contemporary homage to the rock style that dominated the counter-cultural movement of the mid-20th century.

Their latest release, “Lo/Hi,” dropped just last week following a five-year song draught and. thankfully,  it has stayed true to the unique, crunchy Southern style they are known for. Their feet-stomping, hands-clapping and head-banging type of vibe would definitely make the thousands of attendees lose their cool.

4. Dead & Company

“We are thrilled with all the excitement about Woodstock 50, but we have an obligation to our fans, artists and partners, to do things the right way,” Lang told the Rolling Stone. And what better way to fulfill that obligation than to have Dead & Company, the Grateful Dead offshoot band, slated to perform?

Dead & Co is a band composed of legendary Grateful Dead alumni: Bob Weir (guitar), Mickey Hart (drums), and Bill Kreutzmann (drums), along with John Mayer (guitar), Oteil Burbridge (bass/drums), and Jeff Chimenti (keyboards). While D&C have no studio recordings, the band is still able to bring the house down with their revisited psychedelic rock classics.

Hopefully, this year Dead & Co will be able to play at a Woodstock clear of technical issues, sunshine over torrential downpour and a shorter version of “Turn on Your Love Light.” With John Mayer bringing a fresh sound to the iconic band, now is the most appropriate time for dads to start referring to themselves as Deadheads once again.

5. Robert Plant

In every tribute concert there must be one epic reunion, right? Well, don’t place any bets on a Led Zeppelin reunion. Unfortunately, Robert Plant has made his “it’s never going to happen so chill out” attitude toward a reunion clear to the audiences. But, bets are off for him to perform as a solo act.

Plant has been one of few artists to officially declare his slot at Woodstock 50. The charismatic frontman has been rockin’ around venues across the globe solo since 1982. Although Plant isn’t reuniting with any other bandmates from Led Zeppelin, he will be able to bond with other rock ‘n’ roll royalty over the course of the August weekend. One could only hope to feel the other-worldliness that comes when Plant takes the mic.

Overall, Woodstock 50 is shaping up to be a voyage through the years, combining both old-school with current household names. Other acts rumored to be included in the lineup include: Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Miley Cyrus, The Killers, Greta Van Fleet and Cage the Elephant. Until the official lineup is released, all of these artists are subject to change … we just really hope they don’t!


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