Despite the efforts of festival organizers, the long-anticipated but incredibly troubled Woodstock 50 has been officially called off, per Variety.
Meant to commemorate 50 years since 1969’s famed Woodstock festival, Woodstock 50 was snakebitten from the beginning. Set for Aug. 16-18, the festival featured a lineup of big-name artists of today, as well as artists who performed at the original Woodstock. Finally though, after financial hell, venue changes, dropped acts and overall chaos, the festival has been knocked down for the final time and won’t be getting back up in 2019. The festival’s shareholders and vendors were notified Wednesday morning of the cancellation.
Woodstock co-founder issued a lengthy statement on the cancellation, per Variety:
We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating. When we lost the Glen and then Vernon Downs we looked for a way to do some good rather than just cancel. We formed a collaboration with HeadCount to do a smaller event at the Merriweather Pavilion to raise funds for them to get out the vote and for certain NGOs involved in fighting climate change. We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary. Due to conflicting radius issues in the DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons. I would like to encourage artists and agents, who all have been fully paid, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace. Woodstock remains committed to social change and will continue to be active in support of HeadCount’s critical mission to get out the vote before the next election. We thank the artists, fans and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity. My thoughts turn to Bethel and its celebration of our 50th Anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity, and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock.
Added the festival’s Greg Peck:
The unfortunate dispute with our financial partner and the resulting legal proceedings set us off course at a critical juncture, throwing a wrench in our plans and forcing us to find an alternate venue to Watkins Glen. The timing meant we had few choices where our artists would be able to perform. We worked hard to find a way to produce a proper tribute—and some great artists came aboard over the last week to support Woodstock 50—but time simply ran short. We are greatly disappointed and thank all of our supporters, including the team at Merriweather Post Pavilion and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. Woodstock’s values of peace and tolerance are more important today than ever for all of us to stand for and we look to the future for ways to honor and celebrate these ideals.
The festival was originally canceled (well, sort of) back in April due to claims that the production of the festival couldn’t be executed well enough. The original cancellation came just after The Black Keys pulled out of the festival, citing scheduling conflicts.
Subsequently, the festival was cleared to move ahead in May despite its financial disputes. However, even after resuming production, the festival seemed to be doomed from the start. The festival not only lost its original venue, but also lost its second venue before securing a third. But staying on trend with the troubled venture, headliner Jay-Z dropped out of the festival just a day after the new venue was secured.
Furthermore, Creedence Clearwater Revival founder, John Fogerty, who performed at the original Woodstock, pulled out of the festival, as well. Otherwise, in the days leading up to its final cancellation, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs and Miley Cyrus canceled their sets at the newly debunked festival.
Though on paper Woodstock 50 was a nice tribute to the 1969 event that will live on forever in music history, it’s probably for the best that the plug has been pulled. In an era where music festivals seem to be all the craze, promoters and companies are trying to get their foot in the door, and we all know how that can turn out. The fraudulent 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas is the epitome of a festival gone wrong, and while Woodstock 50 luckily didn’t equate to the horrendous Fyre Festival, it is a perfect example of an ambitious festival gone wrong—thankfully, it won’t be taking any paying attendees down with it.