Photo from Woodstock’s Official Facebook
Fans and evidently the original Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang were shocked with the news that the highly anticipated anniversary celebration of Woodstock 50 was canceled. The announcement came from the festival’s partner Dentsu Aegis Network stating,
“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. 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. As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”Official statement released to Billboard
While the commemorative event, set to be held August 16th-18th of 2019, boasted a highlight of popular artists including Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Dead and Company, Halsey and Santana; it failed to reach important checkpoints in the planning process which led to Dentsu “canceling” the festival.
Those checkpoints include concerns surrounding site readiness, capacity and permitting issues. The festival had to reduce its capacity of 100,000 to 75,000 attendees. Woodstock 50 is also currently awaiting approval from New York’s Department of Health for a mass gathering permit. However, the department has stated the permit pending had nothing to do with Dentsu’s decision.
From the standpoint of a fan, it was clear something wasn’t right. Woodstock 50 originally announced tickets would go on sale late January with an artist line up dropping in February. Both deadlines would be missed. A second date to release tickets on Earth Day, April 22nd, was set. However, as the day came and went no tickets were released for public purchase.
So it appeared Woodstock 50 had been canceled. However, the original co-founder of the 1969 festival Michael Lang denies this saying the festival will still go on in an email to fans,
“Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it. Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will. We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!”quote from an email from Michael Lang
Lang has also stated that all performing acts have been paid in full. In fact, several major artists booked for the event had not even received word on cancellation. With the aid of new partners, Lang is confident the event will move forward. Remember he’s saved Woodstock once before, as the original 1969 festival dealt with venue changes just weeks prior to being held. So we can only anticipate how this event will move forward and wish it all the best.