Organisers of the planned Woodstock 50th anniversary festival have hit back after their primary funding partner announced the event’s cancellation today.
Due to be held from August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York, the anniversary event intended to celebrate both Woodstock’s significant milestone and the cultural legacy left by the famous 1969 edition of the festival, which welcomed legendary performances by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez and The Who.
The festival was plunged into fresh doubt today (April 29) as the Dentsu Aegis Network – who were the festival’s primary investors – said that they “don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock brand name” and announced its cancellation.
“It’s a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements,” the statement begins (via Billboard). “We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival.
“But 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,” the statement continues. “As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
However, the organisers of the Woodstock 50 festival have now hit back at suggestions that the festival has been cancelled outright. In a statement to the Poughkeepsie Journal, organisers said: “Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancellation and legal remedy will (be) sought.”
Michael Lang, the promoter of Woodstock 50 and one of the lead organisers of the 1969 festival, has also told The New York Times today that Dentsu “do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival”.
According to the paper, Lang was “caught by surprise” by Dentsu’s announcement. He also voiced his intention to secure another backer for Woodstock 50 – especially as all of the acts have apparently already been paid in full.
There had been lingering doubts about the festival in recent weeks, with ticket sales being postponed and The Black Keys deciding to pull out of their slot at the festival.