Conflicting statements on “Woodstock 50” have caused doubts about the festival’s existence
The rift between the festival's organizers and its financial backers has led to much confusion and speculation
Early on April 29, a number of news outlets reported that the widely announced Woodstock 50 Festival, that was to celebrate 50 years of the original “festival of festivals” is canceled. As NPR reported, “Tim O’Hearn, the administrator for Schuyler County, New York, where the event was to take place, confirmed the cancellation”, and said that, “he had been contacted by Dentsu Aegis Network, which had been bankrolling the planned festival.”
At the same time, Billboard published a statement from Amplifi Live (a Dentsu Aegis division and the main investors of the festival), that, among other things, states that, “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.”
Later that same day, Pitchfork came with a statement from representatives of the Woodstock 50 Festival that said, “we are committed to ensuring that the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture. Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will, of course, be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it’s going to be a blast.”
In his statement to the New York Times, Michael Lang, promoter of Woodstock 50 and one of the primary forces behind the original festival in 1969, also denied the investor’s statement of cancellation. He said that, “they (the investors) do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival.”
The list of performers is to include Jay-Z, The Killers, Dead & Company, Miley Cyrus, The Raconteurs, The Lumineers, Chance the Rapper, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Robert Plant, and some who had played the original event like: Santana, Country Joe McDonald, and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.