With just 67 days to go until Woodstock 50 is scheduled to take place, founder Michael Lang is without a venue, a production company, and an artist lineup whose legality is very much in flux. And yet, the Woodstock co-founder refuses to put the anniversary event out of its misery.
Late Monday afternoon, Watkins Glen International hammered the latest nail into Woodstock’s coffin with the announcement that it would no longer host the festival for this August. According to a statement released by the venue, “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”
A short time later, CID Entertainment, which previously replaced Superfly Presents as the event’s producer, announced that it too was ceasing involvement. “CID Entertainment had been engaged to provide enhanced camping, travel packages and transportation for Woodstock 50. Given developments, we can confirm that CID is no longer involved in Woodstock 50 in any capacity,” CID Entertainment’s Dan Berkowitz told Billboard in a statement.
Despite these developments, organizers are still moving forward with their plans for Woodstock 50.
According to a newly released statement attributed to Woodstock principal Gregory Peck, “We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th—18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.”
Typically, large scale events of Woodstock’s magnitude require a minimum ticket on-sale window of 100 days. The festival cannot legally begin selling tickets until it acquires a mass event permit, which it cannot apply for until it settles on a venue. Even under expedited circumstances, such a permit would take several weeks for approval.
There also remains questions regarding the status of Woodstock’s lineup, which was previously announced to feature contemporary stars including JAY-Z, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, and Imagine Dragons alongside veteran artists like Robert Plant, Santana, David Crosby, John Fogerty, and Grateful Dead offshoot Dead and Company. Booking agents have already questioned the legality of the contracts as they were entered into agreement when Woodstock had a different financier.
“We’re not even going to have a discussion with Lang until we see that every permit needed for this event has been secured,” a talent agency head previously told Billboard. “I’d also like to hear how he plans to convince fans to buy tickets for an event that’s been already canceled.”
Also unclear is whether Woodstock’s new financier, Oppenheimer & Co., remains willing to fund the multi-million dollar venture under such volatile circumstances. According to previous court documents, as of last month Lang needed to raise $30 million dollars in order to stage the event.
In other word, the likelihood of Woodstock 50 taking place on its original dates and with its original lineup is next to none. Unfortunately, Lang seems unwilling to accept this reality and is instead determined to add another embarrassing chapter to Woodstock’s post-1969 history.