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Woodstock 50 officially cancelled

Woodstock 50 has officially been cancelled, organisers have confirmed.

The 50th anniversary event was originally due to take place in Watkins Glen in New York from Friday 16th to Sunday 18th August 2019 with acts including Dead & Company, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, John Fogerty, Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons on the eclectic bill.

In April, Woodstock 50's chief investor, advertising giant Dentsu Aegis Network, announced they were pulling out and the festival wouldn’t be going ahead.

In response, organisers denied the festival had been axed but it was soon hit by more troubles including losing its Watkins Glen location.

Despite four failed attempts to move the Woodstock 50 to Vernon Downs in Vernon, New York, it was eventually moved to Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion, however Dead & Company, Jay-Z, Carlos Santana, Country Joe McDonald, The Black Keys, Miley Cyrus, John Fogerty and others dropped out.

The event’s cancellation was officially confirmed last night (31st July).


The Woodstock 50 line-up

Organiser Michael Lang, who co-founded the original Woodstock Festival, said: “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 (voting encouragement organization) HeadCount to do a smaller event at (Columbia, Maryland’s) Merriweather Pavilion to raise funds for them to get out the vote and for certain NGOs involved in fighting climate change.”

He added: “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.”

Greg Peck, a principal in Woodstock 50, blamed Dentsu Aegis, 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.”

Lang had hoped that unlike Woodstock ’94 and the disastrous Woodstock 1999, which marked the 25th and 30th anniversaries of Woodstock respectively, Woodstock 50 would have a similar ethos as the legendary original festival.

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