The times they are a-changin'. Not even for auld lang syne is the Woodstock generation willing to sit in a field for two days and listen to the music of its youth.
A nostalgia show at the same Bethel farm where the historic Woodstock concert took place 25 years ago was canceled Monday, after baby boomers stayed away in droves.Only 1,650 people bought tickets for the Aug. 13-14 show. The promoter, Harry Rhulen, had hoped to sell 50,000 at $94.69 apiece.
"We quickly determined that people are just not interested in this event," said Harry Rhulen of Shea Entertainment Inc. "If that was the case, why should we bother to put it on?"
Promoters of the larger Woodstock '94 concert 60 miles away in Saugerties - scheduled for Aug. 12-14 - still had about 100,000 unsold tickets Monday, the day sales were supposed to end. They planned to extend sales and relax parking rules to try to attract a crowd closer to their goal of 250,000.
The Bethel show was troubled from the start. Rhulen bailed out the original promoter, Sid Bernstein, when it became clear Bernstein didn't have the money to pull it off.
The lineup featured many original Woodstock artists - Melanie, Richie Havens, Sha Na Na, Canned Heat - who are no longer popular.
Shea Entertainment said the 1,650 people who bought tickets will receive refunds. Rhulen, a local insurance executive, expects to lose $2 million.
The Woodstock festival of 1969 became famous in part because tens of thousands showed up unexpectedly, swarmed the gates and got in free.
But the $135 tickets for the Saugerties show and restrictions on what fans can bring into the show have turned some people off.
"I'm not paying for a ticket," said Josh Brown, a 20-year-old student from Troy. "I think it's a commercialist trap. Everyone is supposed to feel that `I missed the first one, I can't miss this one.' "
The show, organized by the original Woodstock promoters and PolyGram Diversified Entertainment, is going with a lineup designed to attract both young and old. It includes Bob Dylan, Spin Doctors, Aerosmith, the Allman Brothers and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Tickets will no longer be sold only in blocks of four with one parking pass, said John Scher of PolyGram. Fans may now buy two tickets at $135 apiece and get a parking pass.