Highly Anticipated Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival Cancelled

Some are comparing the would-be festival to the disastrous Fyre Festival.
Highly Anticipated Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival Cancelled
Photo by Derek Redmond and Paul Campbell/ Wikimedia Commons

Woodstock 50, a concert event to celebrate the semi-centennial anniversary of the original 1969 music festival, has been canceled by its promoters, according to a report in Billboard. Officials with Dentsu Aegis Network, the financial backers of Woodstock 50, announced the decision in a statement to the music industry publication on Monday.

“After careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival,” the statement reads. “As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”

Dream Denied

Acknowledging the missed historical opportunity, Denstus Aegis said that the company feared it would not be able to pull off an event worthy of bearing the name of the original August 1969 festival held in Bethel, New York.

“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,” the promoters wrote. “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.”

Representatives for Woodstock 50 said that issues with permits, preparations for the site, and concerns about the capacity of the festival scheduled for August 16-18 led to the cancellation of the event. The Killers, Dead and Co, Imagine Dragons, and Jay-Z had been announced as the headliners of the anniversary concert, which was also scheduled to include performances by Cage the Elephant, the Lumineers, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, Sturgill Simpson, and several other acts.

Promoters had already spent more than $30 million to pay many of the entertainers. A pitch from a representative of the festival to Live Nation and AEG last week in order to secure a $20 million investment to keep Woodstock 50 afloat was turned down by both companies.

A ticket on-sale date scheduled for earlier this month was canceled by the promoters, who cited problems with gaining the necessary permits for the event.

50th Anniversary of Iconic Event

The original Woodstock festival, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music,” was held on a dairy farm near Woodstock, New York in August 1969 and featured performances by Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Joan Baez, The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, among many others.

The festival is one of the defining moments in the history of popular music and is widely seen as the culmination of the hippie movement’s 1960s culture of peace and love. Woodstock was also an iconic event in the drug counterculture, with widespread use of cannabis by attendees and warnings to avoid “the brown acid” issued via the stage’s public address system.

In 2014, Michael Lang, one of the promoters of the original festival, announced that plans were being made to stage a Woodstock fiftieth anniversary concert.

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