In a move absolutely no one saw coming, Woodstock 50 has officially cancelled their upcoming celebration. The news comes days after a venue change, shift to a free benefit show and several artists dropping from the lineup.
The event was first announced in March to be held Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York. Most recently, after continuous venue issues, it moved to Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. Now, festival organizers are officially pulling the plug.
Michael Lang, co-founder of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, released a statement today, according to Consequence Of Sound:
“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great lineup 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.”
Principal of Woodstock 50 Greg Peck also released a statement.
“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 internet immediately had a field day with the news, taking to Twitter to express reactions.
Can they cancel Woodstock 75 while they’re at it? #proactive
— Six O’Matic (@SixOMatic) July 31, 2019
Woodstock 94: “We had awful weather and overcrowding.
Woodstock 99: “We had assaults, lack of water, fire and sexual assault.”
Woodstock 50: “Hold my beer.” https://t.co/DYAvUowsjl
— Josh Svetz (@Svetz17) July 31, 2019
RIP Woodstock 50. You never got the chance to shine as brightly as Woodstock 20.
— Stephen Thomas Erlewine (@sterlewine) July 31, 2019
Woodstock was cancelled because they didn’t bill Gojira higher than Jay Z.
— Tony (@ItMeTony) July 31, 2019
with the cancellation of woodstock 50, the juggalos are officially better festival organizers than the hippies
— Pixie Casey (@pixie_casey) July 31, 2019
More on Woodstock 50
At the end of April, a Woodstock 50 investor pulled out, stating the fest was cancelled. However, organizers denied the statement and released one of their own. Organizers found a new investor in May, but lost their venue due to contract issues in June.
They applied for a new, smaller venue at Vernon Downs, which they didn’t inform any of the lineup of at the time. After submitting three appeals for the venue, they moved across state lines to Maryland.
The new location was about four-and-a-half hours away from the original festival grounds. A few days ago, we learned that all of the artists set to perform at Woodstock 50 were released from their contracts just weeks before the event.
Yesterday, it was revealed several artists announced that they were pulling from the event. Headliner Miley Cyrus joins the list as the most recent artist to pull from Woodstock, joining fellow headliners Jay-Z and Dead & Co.
With artists no longer obligated to their contracts, acts such as Jay-Z and John Fogerty announced they would be pulling out of the event.
More recently, Cyrus announced she would no longer be headlining the event joining acts such as the Lumineers, the Raconteurs, John Sebastion and Country Joe McDonald. All of which have pulled from Woodstock since Monday night.
At the time, the last two remaining headliners, the Killers and Imagine Dragons, had yet to confirm or pull from their performances. However, neither act lists the event on their websites.
With the performance list still up in the air, sources told Variety “that the festival was moving ahead as a one-day event, and that so far four or five acts, including the Zombies, have agreed to perform.”
Variety reached out to a Woodstock rep but they claimed the festival had no comment. While artists had been pulling from the event left and right, the Zombies have continued to hold onto their faith in the festival.
“I’ve always believed it would happen, which might sound kooky, but we’re at a messed-up moment in time right now and the spirit of Woodstock is something that we need,” comanager Cindy da Silva tells Variety. “And also, the tenacity of that team has been incredible.
“If this was any other festival I’d say ‘Give it up already,’ but maybe the way it’s happening is right: It shouldn’t be for profit, it should be about peace and love and music and charity and people coming together. If it turns out the way it looks like it should, I do believe it’ll be a powerful event that could be a moment of change. Maybe there’s a reason it hasn’t gone away yet.”