It was intended to be a celebration of a cultural icon, a gathering to commemorate freedom and joy and music and life.
But with only 60 days until Woodstock’s 50th anniversary concert, the event is more filled with panic and legal chaos than peace and love.
The 50th show, organised by original Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang, is scheduled for August 16-18 and features a lineup of 1960s and new acts. Headliners include Jay-Z, The Killers and Miley Cyrus, who will play alongside a series of “Woodstock originals” like Santana, Canned Heat, and David Crosby.
But the concert, announced in December, has been plagued by problems and Mr Lang now confronts the same predicament he faced in the summer of 1969: running out of time to pull off the show.
This week its venue fell through, with the owners claiming they had not been paid.
Now there are signs of a revolt from some performers.
“We're all sick of the lack of professionalism and lack of truth,” said the manager of one of the original Woodstock bands set to play on in August.
“It's called the ‘music business’, but in this case, there has been no business,” he told The Telegraph.
Furthermore, many of the original acts have told The Telegraph that the organisers are simply cashing in on the concert’s legendary name, and that the 50th anniversary show should never have been organised in the first place.
Stu Cook, bass guitarist for Creedence Clearwater Revival, said it was a fool’s errand to try to recreate the original.
“The real concert was actually never about the bands,” he told The Telegraph, speaking from his Arizona hotel, where he and fellow band member Doug Clifford were about to go on stage.
“It was all about the audience. We were just bait. The real story is the audience; how they kept it together, despite the lack of food, or running water, or shelter from the torrential rain.
“The music was chaotic – I don’t think anybody got a full song. But what they are doing, with the 50th show, is trying to recreate something that was simply magic, and can’t be repeated.”
The lead up to this year's anniversary festival has seen a series of hiccups.
An announced date for ticket sales to begin – April 22 – came and went; even today, tickets are still not available on the website. Their price is unknown, although Mr Lang said that three-day passes will cost around $400 (£317), with a limited number of one-day tickets also available.
Then, a week later, on April 30 the festival’s Japanese financial backers Dentsu pulled the plug, cutting its losses.
Mr Lang and his team sued, and in May a New York state Supreme Court judge ruled that Dentsu had no right to unilaterally cancel the festival. But the judge declined to order the return to the organisers of $17.8 million of Dentsu’s funds.
Later that month financial services firm Oppenheimer & Co signed on as an adviser to complete financing, and Mr Lang said the festival was back on track.
But last Monday the venue, Watkins Glen racetrack, pulled out, claiming they had not been paid their $300,000 (£238,303). There were also issues with attendance; it remains unclear whether the mass gathering permit has been approved by the New York state department of health, and all sides were at loggerheads over capacity at Watkins Glen, reduced to 75,000 after Mr Lang originally sought 150,000.
Meanwhile, the original Woodstock site is planning its own anniversary celebration on the same weekend – with the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts hosting Arlo Guthrie, Ringo Starr, and Santana, among others, over three days.
Amanda Pelman, an associate producer of Mr Lang’s Woodstock 50 concert, told The Telegraph that “an announcement” would be made this week. Carlos Santana’s manager said his understanding was that the show would go on.
And tickets may not be selling, but the merchandising is on full display, with a $45 (£36) “peace and love tie-dye party kit”, $20 (£16) babygros and a $60 (£48) official book all on offer.
“Our intention holds firm,” the website currently reads. “To deliver a world-class, once in a lifetime festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. To honour a cultural icon that changed the way we think about music and togetherness… and will do so again.”
But others are not so sure.
“Michael has no venue, he lied to his investors about having permits and now Watkins Glen Racetrack cancelled their contract,” said the manager of one of the “Woodstock original” musicians.
“The band and some family members have spent money on airline tickets, we've had to pay in advance to keep hotel rooms at ridiculous rates, had to pay in advance for a van and, all in all, it simply hasn't been fun.
“The lineup is ridiculous and, at this point, there is no excitement from the public for this to even happen.”
Cook, now 74, agreed.
“What does Jay-Z have to do with Woodstock?” he said. “Although I guess he will get a percentage of the ticket sales. I’ve heard the problem is that Michael Lang has paid $30 million up front in artist costs. Yet most people who went there at the time – either to watch, or musicians – are now dead.”
Indeed, a good third of the 100-odd musicians who played at the original show are no longer alive.
His former Creedence band member, John Fogerty, will be playing – something that Cook treats with wry scorn.
“John’s making a big deal about this being his 50th anniversary at Woodstock,” he said. “But as I recall, it wasn’t John Fogerty playing – it was Creedence Clearwater Revival.”
David Clayton-Thomas, 77, who played Woodstock with his band Blood Sweat and Tears, said he would not have played the 50th anniversary, even if asked.
Woodstock ’94, to commemorate the 25th anniversary, was seen as a success, with bands including Aerosmith, Green Day, Santana and Joe Cocker playing. Even Bob Dylan performed – having turned down an invitation to be at the original.
Woodstock ’99, however, was an unmitigated disaster: multiple accusations of rape and sexual harassment, searing temperatures and extremely expensive water, and a series of poorly-reviewed performances that culminated in bonfires being lit, cars burnt, and riot police dispersing the crowds.
The San Francisco Chronicle labelled Woodstock ‘99 “the day the music died.”
Mr Lang has been involved in all of them.
“The original Woodstock came at a very unique moment,” said Clayton-Thomas. “It was in the midst of the Vietnam anti-war movement; the peace movement; the youth movement. We were a Greenwich Village band, and we were at the heart of it – it was fabulous.
“But every 10 years or so, someone tries to cash in.”
He didn’t expect the concert, even if revived, to be a success.
“People see though the commercialism. What happened in 1969 was special – everyone was knee deep in mud, a small city’s worth of people, with not enough port-a-loos, no water, no food, and yet there was no violence.
“I don’t think we got paid – I’m not sure anyone did. It was pandemonium backstage. But it was truly special.”
Clayton-Thomas’s latest album Mobius, released last year, features a song named Back to the 60s, with the lyrics: “We were young and fearless then, and everyone came to a field outside of Woodstock, singing we shall overcome in the rain. And the rain and mud don’t matter – we came to change the whole world with a song.”
Leo Lyons, the Cardiff-based bassist of Ten Years After, said he "probably would have played" the 50th concert, if invited, but was glad he wasn't.
"I'm playing Woodstock 50th celebrations in Holland, Germany, and the UK, so the spirit is still very much alive," said the 75-year-old, speaking from France where he is currently on tour.
"The original changed the music industry forever. It became, after Woodstock, more corporate - all about looking to make money out of something which was really very amateurish.
"But the original was all about peace and love. And that was certainly a good thing."
Nancy Nevins, one of fewer than 10 females out of 100-odd musicians to perform – and the only one, alongside Melanie and Joan Baez, to be still playing professionally – agreed that Woodstock was a one-off. And it should stay that way, she said.
“They’re milking it, turning it into a marketing meme. It’s so obvious,” she told The Telegraph, from her home in California.
Her band, Sweetwater, played on the first day – Friday August 15, 1969 - and it wasn’t until they were back home in California the following day (having survived an emergency landing of their helicopter, a van crashing into the Holiday Inn and multiple missed flights) that they realised how big a deal Woodstock was.
“We sat there at home on Saturday night, eating our dinner, and saw Woodstock on the evening news. They said there were half a million people there, and it was changing the face of America.
“Well, our jaws hit the ground. We were astonished; we had no idea. We were saying: ‘Hey, we were there!’”
Now 69, she rates Lady Gaga and Adele among modern musicians, but says many of the hits nowadays are “sex pop”.
“For us, at the original Woodstock, it wasn’t really about the music – it was the people,” she said.
“The stage was a shaky plywood thing they had just thrown up. We were playing into a pit of photographers, which was weird as we were used to playing to people. We were supposed to be paid $1,250 between all of us, but I don’t think we ever received a cent.
“But it was all about the crowd, the people. And the people changed America; I really believe that. It’s good to keep that part alive – the peace and love and tolerance. It was an awesome audience, with a real sense of caring. It was of its time. It’s something you can’t recreate.”
But Jack Casady, 75, of Jefferson Airplane, will play the Woodstock 50 concert - if it goes ahead - with his former bandmember Jorma Kaukonen, as Hot Tuna.
"Most of the people who will come to the Woodstock 50 weren't at the original," he told The Telegraph, from his home in Jersey.
"It's a historical point of reference, a physical tribute, but not an effort to go back in time. And what it'll mean to a younger generation, who have no reference to the 60s, will be very interesting to see.
"The idea of a festival is to put yourself in an environment where you hear music you wouldn't normally come across. You just wander around and take it all in, and I love that - as a musician, playing festivals is just fantastic for that.
"I'm excited about it, and hope lots of people come."