Amid rumors that Woodstock 50 was facing cancelation, founder Michael Lang and organizers at Woodstock Ventures LLC have officially called the golden year celebration. The speculation began a couple of weeks back when The Black Keys pulled out of their headlining slot due to “scheduling conflicts.”
Then, when ticket sales were delayed indefinitely, Billboard dug deeper to find one insider source who said: “no one knows what the hell is going on.” Cue the speculation and red flags, which Lang dismissed at the time as “just rumors.”
Well, the rumors, as they say, are almost always true. The festival confirmed that its 50th anniversary would not be taking place this year in Watkins Glen, New York. An official statement was released to Billboard stating the following:
“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,” said a spokesperson from Dentsu Aegis Network, which pulled it funding of Woodstock 50.
The billing was set to include JAY-Z, Chance the Rapper, Dead and Company, Halsey, and more. While it’s lamentable to see the world’s first festival fall on tough times, we’re glad that Woodstock didn’t become the Fyre Festival of 2019. This is an industry climate where corporatized, big box festivals are dominating the live music market, and independents like Woodstock are having an increasingly harder time getting off the ground. Some calls are tough to make, but sometimes it’s for the better.
Stay tuned as the story develops.