Photo by Evan Agostini

Woodstock 50 is officially cancelled

News 01/08/2019

Woodstock 50 has officially been cancelled.

Co-founder Michael Lang expressed his sadness for a series of unfortunate "setbacks" that made it impossible for them to hold the festival.

Just a week ago, the festival appeared to have found a new home at Merriweather Post Pavilion and the venue had confirmed that tickets were free.

Woodstock 50 had been on a long search for a site after separating with their financial backers and losing their original site in upstate New York. Lang stayed confident in his abilities and tried to continue on with the festival.

"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," Lang said.

Lang also cited "radius issues" as one of the many reasons why artists were backing out. He went on to encourage the artists, who were pre-paid before the festival's cancellation, to donate 10% of their fees to charitable causes "in the spirit of peace". 

The official announcement brings the Woodstock 50 saga to an end. They first revealed their plans earlier in January this year and released a lineup a month later. Big acts such as Dead & Company, Robert Plant, the Killers, John Fogerty, the Raconteurs, Santana and more were going to headline the festival.

However, the festival organisers faced plentiful of obstacles along the way. First, they were forced to look for alternative venues due to permit issues. Then, the major financial backer decided to withdraw from the festival which led to court battles. 

A glimmer of hope came last week when the festival announced their new home in Maryland. However, artists were already released from their contracts, which meant they were not legally obligated to perform for Woodstock 50.

While all of this was happening, one by one, artists were backing out from the festival including main headliners, Dead & Company.

If there's any consolation, Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival will be held at the original site (that has turned into a cultural centre) on the same dates, Aug 16 - 18. The festival will also be honouring the 50th anniversary of Woodstock '69.