After years of watching promoters emulate Woodstock, Artie Kornfeld – one of the creators of the legendary festival – is ready to give it his own modern return.
Kornfeld and musician Larry McClurg are putting together an event, set to take place at Summersville, W.Va., July 19-21, where Kornfeld hopes to bring people "back to the Garden."
"It’s a renaissance faire about the Summer of Love," Kornfeld told Pollstar. "It’s to create the feeling of hope that we had that weekend."
Kornfeld has a storied history in rock ‘n’ roll over the past half-century, from writing songs in the Brill Building to being the first senior VP of rock for a record label (Capitol) to thinking up Woodstock with Michael Lang over a game of bumper pool. When it comes to Goodstock 2007, the dream isn’t grand; it’s manageable.
"If I sell 10,000 tickets, I have my promotion budget," Kornfeld said. "It will have a better bottom line than a big festival with the Red Hot Chili Peppers because it will only cost $300,000 to $400,000 to do this total. … I just want to promote it in a very cool way. You remember that ad that my partners didn’t want me to run three months before Woodstock?"
Summersville is excited about the festival and has allowed Kornfeld and McClurg to put two stages on a 1,000-acre site free of charge, Kornfeld said. Stage security has been volunteered in return for some travel money. Meanwhile, the city gets all of the concessions.
The acts are the new local heroes of the U.S.: popular MySpace bands. McClurg advertised on MySpace and, after getting 500 responses and reviewing hundreds of CDs, accepted 90 bands and turned down 190 others. Each band gets $3,000 to hop in vans and get their butts to West Virginia.
"They’re used to playing in small clubs or opening up for Duran Duran when they come to town, so this is great for them," Kornfeld said. And the bands obviously are more than happy to advertise Goodstock on their MySpace pages.
Compared to the "clone" Woodstocks Kornfeld has eschewed, this one will have elements that the promoter says are essential. Families are welcome, there will be room for on-site cooking and camping, and the event will promote a weekend away from all the troubles in the world.
"This war is worse than the war then, and the government is worse than it was then," Kornfeld said. "This event will give people a chance to come together and show the government that the system still works."
And it’s a dress-up day. Concertgoers are encouraged to put on their psychedelia and turn the event into a renaissance faire about music.
Kornfeld dropped the names of a few of the performers from Woodstock and suggested that he might give them a ring and ask for the favor of having them perform at the event. Still, he’s not worried about having to serve breakfast in bed for 400,000 people.
"If I sell 25,000 tickets the festival is an incredible success," he said. And, by running some ads in the nearest big market of Pittsburgh and getting some radio mentions, he expects to get close.