After months of controversy and countless false starts, Woodstock 50 has now officially been cancelled.
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The festival, which faced a whole host of problems over the past few months, mainly related to finding a new location for the event, finally found a home in the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland last week. However, organisers have now announced that the three-day festival intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock will no longer be taking place.
“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the Festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,” Michael Lang, co-founder of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, said in a statement.
“When we lost the Glen and then Vernon Downs we looked for a way to do some good rather than just cancel. We formed a collaboration with HeadCount to do a smaller event at the Merriweather Pavilion to raise funds for them to get out the vote and for certain NGOs involved in fighting climate change.”
There have been many announcements as of late relating to artists pulling out of performing at Woodstock 50. From The Black Keys to Jay-Z, and more recently Miley Cyrus, The Raconteurs, Santana and The Lumineers, Lang spoke on the recent decision to release the performers from their contracts.
“We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary,” he explained. “Due to conflicting radius issues in the DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons. I would like to encourage artists and agents, who all have been fully paid, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace.
“Woodstock remains committed to social change and will continue to be active in support of HeadCount’s critical mission to get out the vote before the next election. We thank the artists, fans and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity. 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.”
Greg Peck, principal of Woodstock 50 said: “The unfortunate dispute with our financial partner and the resulting legal proceedings set us off course at a critical juncture, throwing a wrench in our plans and forcing us to find an alternate venue to Watkins Glen. 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.
“We are greatly disappointed and thank all of our supporters, including the team at Merriweather Post Pavilion and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. Woodstock’s values of peace and tolerance are more important today than ever for all of us to stand for and we look to the future for ways to honor and celebrate these ideals.”
Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., and operator of Merriweather Post Pavilion, the venue scheduled to host Woodstock 50, added: “While we were able to quickly eliminate the venue portion of the challenge to present Woodstock, it was just too late in the game. Hopefully, with plenty of time to prepare, Merriweather will become the site of a future festival that captures the original vibe. A lot of people clearly wanted it to happen.”