The Rhino record label has just announced the release of an expansive 50th anniversary Woodstock box set, entitled Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive (or simply Woodstock: Back to the Garden).
The 38-CD collection drops this summer and features all but three performances from the original Woodstock festival which took place in 1969.
That’s a whopping 432 tracks — 267 of which have never been released. In an official statement, Rhino wrote:
“Woodstock the defining event of a generation and one of the most iconic moments in popular music history. Despite its enduring cultural significance, no one has ever attempted to document the historic festival as it unfolded in real time. Until now.”
The box set encapsulates nearly 36 hours of audio — three quarters of the entire weekend — without cherry-picking certain hits or excluding any acts.
The massive box set will be organized in chronological order, by day and set times. It even includes various bizarre intermittent announcements made over the festival’s PA system by rowdy festivalgoers.
From Santana to The Who, or Janis Joplin to Jefferson Airplane, Woodstock: Back to the Garden seemingly has a lot to offer. Woodstock 1969 has never been documented this extensively, which is why the upcoming box set will be limited to 1,969 hand-numbered copies.
It also features a handful of ephemera sure to please anyone who attended the festival, like replicas of the original festival program, posters and photo prints by Henry Diltz. There’s also a commemorative guitar strap.
Those who purchase the set will also receive a blu-ray of the director’s cut of the 1970 Woodstock film and a hardbound book, made by festival co-founder Michael Lang.
The ambitious box set was co-produced by L.A.-based producer and archivist, Andy Zax. “The Woodstock tapes give us a singular opportunity for a kind of sonic time travel, and my intention is to transport people back to 1969,” he told Rolling Stone.
“There aren’t many other concerts you could make this argument about,” concluded Zax.
Woodstock – Back to the Garden: The Definitive 50th Anniversary Archive is now available to be pre-ordered through the Rhino record label’s website. The anniversary collections are scheduled for an Aug. 2 release.
For those who don’t want to spend US$800, there are also three additional packages, including a 3-CD, a 10-CD set and a 5-LP set.
Could any profits from the box set go to co-founder Michael Lang? It’s currently unclear if the 74-year-old even had a say in the upcoming collection.
But after losing Dentsu Aegis, the main investor for this year’s Woodstock 50 festival, it’s likely that Lang could use some financial assistance for the festival to run smoothly and all to go as previously planned.
Despite major uncertainty and confusion in the Woodstock camp, the festival’s highly controversial 50th-anniversary extravaganza is still scheduled to go on.
Unfortunately for fans, however, tickets have not yet gone on sale for the show slated for Aug. 16.
Lang has continued to publicly assure Woodstock fans that the “show will go on.”
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