Woodstock 50 Festival Has Maybe Been Cancelled | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, December 15th, 2019  

Woodstock 50 Festival Has Maybe Been Cancelled

Tickets Had Yet to Be Put on Sale

Apr 29, 2019
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Woodstock 50 has potentially been cancelled. In a statement to Billboard, Dentsu Aegis Network, which was funding the festival, said: "We don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees." Tickets had yet to go on sale after the original on-sale date was postponed. The full statement is below. (Also see below for a new update on how the organizers are still trying to save the festival.)

Billboard adds that according to their sources, "concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness, and permitting issues led to the cancellation." Billboard also says that over $30 million has already been spent on the festival lineup, with most of the artists already being paid.

Here is the full statement from Dentsu Aegis Network: "It's a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements. We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. But despite our tremendous investment of time, effort, and commitment, we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network's Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved."

The lineup was announced in March to a bit of a mixed reaction from diehard music fans. The headliners were set to be The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Dead and Company, Chance The Rapper, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, and Halsey. Dead and Company, John Fogerty, Santana, John Sebastian, Country Joe Mcdonald, and Canned Heat all performed at the original Woodstock and were set for Woodstock 50. Notable Under the Radar friendly artists on the lineup included Courtney Barnett, boygenius, The Black Keys, Soccer Mommy, The Raconteurs, Run the Jewels, Cherry Glazerr, Margo Price, and Janelle Monáe. The event was scheduled to happen August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, NY, which is not the original site for 1969's Woodstock.

The last time there was a Woodstock festival was in 1999, to commemorate the original festival's 30th anniversary, and it didn't go so well, with reports of gang rapes, property destruction, violence, and fires, not to mention a fairly terrible lineup featuring Korn, Limp Bizkit, Bush, Kid Rock, Creed, and others.

Michael Lang, co-founder and producer of the 1969 Woodstock festival (as well as the less iconic 1994 and 1999 versions) was again involved with Woodstock 50 and had this to say about the event in the press release announcing the lineup: "We've lined up artists who won't just entertain but will remind the world that music has the power to bring people together, to heal, to move us to action and to tell the stories of a generation. Our hope is that today, just as in 1969, music will be the constant that can inspire positive change."

The weekend of August 16-18 there is another festival, Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, on the original grounds of Woodstock. It's set to feature musical performances (including Santana, The Doobie Brothers, Ringo Starr, and The Edgar Winter Band), as well as TED-style talks, and seems thus far to be a more low-key event.

Update: In a statement to the Poughkeepsie Journal, the organizers of Woodstock 50 say the event is still on, saying: "Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival's cancellation and legal remedy will [be] sought." In a separate statement to Poughkeepsie Journal, they also said: "We are committed to ensuring that the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture. Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it's going to be a blast."

Meanwhile Woodstock co-founder has said to The New York Times the financiers "do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival" and that since all the acts have been paid in full, there is still a chance to rescue the festival with another backer. 

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