Woodstock 50 Cancelled
Update, 4:38 p.m.: A twist in the story! The organizers of Woodstock tell The Poughkeepsie Journal that “Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancellation and legal remedy will [be] sought.” So, that’s pretty interesting. Stay tuned to see how this plays out.
Rumors of Woodstock 50’s impending demise have been going around for weeks now. First, one of the fest’s headliners, The Black Keys, pulled out, citing a scheduling conflict. Then, just last week, the fest’s organizers pushed back the on-sale date for tickets, leading a booking agent with an act schedule for the event to tell Billboard, “No one knows what the hell is going on but there is clearly a problem.”
Unfortunately, that person’s conjecture wasn’t off the mark: Dentsu Aegis Network, the company funding the festival, have now called off the whole event. A statement released by Dentsu Aegis to Billboard explains:
“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.”
According to Billboard, “Reps for the festival say concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness and permitting issues led to the cancellation of the commemorative event.” Organizers tried to raise an additional $20 million in funds from other big promoters, like Live Nation and AEG, but that didn’t pan out. Meanwhile, more than $30 million has reportedly already been spent on the festival, and “most artists have already been paid.” That would include acts like Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus, and Chance the Rapper.
I suppose there’s still a chance someone else could swoop in with the money and save the day, or that they could re-conceive a scaled-down version of the festival. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.