It was doomed from the damn near get-go, but now it's official: Woodstock 50 has been cancelled.
Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock 50 and public punching bag over the course of the festival's slow and painful demise, lamented the fate of the event in an official statement, saying that “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.”
We're not really sure what Lang's referring to here, because even after the lineup was partially announced back in March, it seemed like most punters were pretty opposed to this festival. It was clear from the get-go that the festival was a desperate cash-in on the legacy of the original 1969 event, and after the fiery chaos of Woodstock '99, many found it pretty incredible that they'd give the festival another crack.
As such, the festival experienced early issues with ticket sales and financial backers withdrawing from the event, yet somehow the organisers seemed optimistic the event would go ahead - even when they failed to secure a venue or permit for the festival. Despite news emerging last week that Woodstock 50 had found a home at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, it was reported that the artists booked for the festival had originally signed on to play at the festival's original venue at Watkins Glen in New York, thus meaning none of the original artists were contractually obligated to perform at Woodstock 50. The festival then decided to make Woodstock 50 a free event and cleared all artists of their contracts in hope that they would perform at the event on a voluntary basis, which was obviously never going to happen.
Greg Peck, one of the festival's primary investors, reflected on the demise of the festival in his own statement, saying “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.”
RIP Woodstock 50. Thanks for all the content you've offered us over the past six months - it's been real.