Woodstock 50, the Watkins Glen, N.Y., festival meant to mark the 50th anniversary of its legendary namesake event, has been canceled, according to a report from Billboard that cites festival backers 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,” said the festival’s financial partners in a statement. “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,” their statement concludes. “As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
However, per the Poughkeepsie Journal, festival organizers claim in a statement that reports of the plug being pulled are inaccurate, saying, “Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancellation and legal remedy will (be) sought.”
For now, it’s difficult to know what to make of all this, though it’s clear the festival is in dire straits at best with its financiers and organizers at odds. Rumors about Woodstock 50’s cancellation had been swirling for several weeks, so if true, Billboard’s report would confirm there was fire to go with all that smoke. Said report, citing festival reps, adds that “concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness and permitting issues” led to its cancellation, and that all this comes on the heels of an attempt by festival organizers to save Woodstock 50 by soliciting a $20 million investment from Live Nation and AEG, each of whom declined.
Scheduled for Aug. 16-18, Woodstock 50 is—was?—set to feature performances from The Killers, Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Chance the Rapper, Imagine Dragons and Halsey, among many others. The Black Keys, perhaps sensing the festival’s behind-the-scenes tumult, canceled their set in early April, citing an unspecified scheduling conflict.
Paste has reached out to Woodstock 50 reps for more information and will update this post with any that we receive. Stay tuned.