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It was a long time coming, but now it’s confirmed. Woodstock 50 officially canceled their festival. They decided to no longer push through with their anniversary event after a series of problems, from having no official venue to major headliners pulling out. Less than two weeks before it would have taken place, the event saw no progress moving forward. When the New York State Department of Health denied Woodstock 50‘s permit to hold their event at Watkins Glen, New York, it started a flurry of problems they never really recovered from. Major financier Dentsu Aegis Network even prematurely announced the cancellation of the event. But at the time, Woodstock 50 LLC hadn’t planned on discontinuing it. The conflict even led to a court case, which the organizers eventually lost. And as a result, the network backed out of the event, leaving Woodstock 50 without both an official venue and a financier to fund the festival. 

However, Woodstock 50 LLC never lost hope. They tried booking other places to hold the anniversary event, but all denied their application for the permits. One of the more high-profile instances was when they tried to reserve a site in the rural town of Vernon in Upstate New York. But as what happened with Watkins Glen International, Vernon also denied the festival their permit. The city reasoned that the organizers submitted their application too late and that it was incomplete. And even though Woodstock 50 tried to appeal the denial, they still weren’t granted permission. The festival’s last resort was moving it to Maryland. They set their sights on holding it on Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is a substantially smaller venue than their previous choices. And since the state assured them that they won’t face the same permit problems there as they did in New York, it looked like Woodstock 50 finally had an official venue. However, with the news of this location changed, the booked headliners started voicing out their concerns. 

These major stars’ agents noted that their contract specifically stated that New York will host the event. Countless venue changes and the withdrawal of Dentsu Aegis Network were already breaches of their signed contracts, moving the event to Maryland was the final straw. One by one, most of the big-named headliners started pulling out from the festival. John Fogerty was the first one to do so, followed by Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, The Raconteurs, and more. And while Woodstock 50 couldn’t force them to stay, they gave them a different alternative instead. They asked the artists to donate 10% of the money paid to HeadCount. This is a voter registration effort for the 2020 election. 

Woodstock 50 intended to hold their festival from August 16 to August 18, 2019. Though it will no longer push through, there are still other activities that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the legendary music festival. One of the more highly-anticipated ones is an upcoming documentary, “Woodstock: Three Days that Defined A Generation“. It will premiere on PBS on August 6, 2019. Image Credits:

  1. Woodstock 50 Featured Image – Rolling Stonge.com
  2. Music Festival Woodstock 50 – Hypebeast.com
  3. Vintage Woodstock Photo – Jezebel.com
  4. Woodstock 50 Poster – Jambase.com