The troubled 50th anniversary event planned for August in Maryland has been officially called off
The troubled Woodstock 50th anniversary music festival planned for August was officially canceled on Wednesday, with organizers blaming a series of unforeseen setbacks.
The three-day festival, meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the famed 1969 celebration of peace and music, was planned for 16-18 August.
Greg Peck, principal of Woodstock 50, said an unfortunate dispute with a financial partner and subsequent legal proceedings forced them to move venues and claimed that ultimately they ran out of time.
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, he said.
Michael Lang, one of the original producers of the 1969 event, added that it had become impossible to carry out the original plan.
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, Lang said.
The cancellation was widely expected after a troubled five months, in which organizers were turned down at two proposed sites in upstate New York, lost funding and headliners including rapper Jay-Z and pop star Miley Cyrus.
Tickets never went on sale for the festival.
Organizers last week made a last-ditch attempt to put on a free, scaled-down event at an amphitheater in Maryland, but several of the 80 or so acts began pulling out despite having already been paid.
Lang said in his statement that the smaller event in Maryland would have been aimed at raising funds for non-profits fighting climate change and organizations encouraging Americans to vote in the 2020 US general elections.
Woodstock 50 was first planned for the Watkins Glen motor racing venue in upstate New York, but the site pulled out in June. Organizers then attempted in vain to seek permits in Vernon, New York.
The non-profit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the current owner of the field where the 1969 Woodstock festival took place, also scaled back plans earlier this year for a three-day anniversary event. It will instead host separate concerts by Ringo Starr, Santana and the Doobie Brothers.
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, Lang said in his statement on Wednesday.