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Woodstock 50 Officially Canceled, Organizers Say

The saga over the troubled festival finally comes to an end

Woodstock 50 is officially canceled.

The long-suffering recreation of the first Woodstock, the revered live concert that took place in Bethel, a town in New York, called it quits in a statement on Wednesday.

“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,” the festival co-founder Michael Lang 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. We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary,” he continued. “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.”

The festival, scheduled for Aug. 16-18, ran into turbulence shortly after the lineup was announced in March, with financial backers Dentsu Aegis Network and performers pulling out, permits for the event being denied time and time again, artists bowing out and tickets never went on sale. 

After being denied permits for its original location at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York, Woodstock 50 went through several proposed sites being moved to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. A revised plan for a one-day show meant that the concert would happen either on Aug. 16 (for which the venue’s capacity is 20,000) or Aug. 18 (for which is it 32,000), due to the scheduled Smashing Pumpkins/Noel Gallagher show at the venue on Aug. 17.

Variety first reported the news.