Woodstock 50 Canceled: How Did We Get Here?

Woodstock 50 was supposed to be different from the other reunions. How did it fail so badly?
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Woodstock 50

Woodstock 50 has been canceled. The much beleaguered festival that has been a cartoonish saga in how to not try and put on a festival never got to see a live audience.

Reps for Woodstock told Pitchfork and Variety, “We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on a festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating.”

The festival has been hit with set back after set back ever since it was announced. In April a key investor, Dentsu Aegis Network, pulled out of the festival and claimed it was canceled. This caused a back and forth about whether or not it was canceled and started the spiraling downfall of Woodstock 50.

This is just the beginning of the saga.

Woodstock 50 couldn’t get the proper permits for the grounds in Watkins Glenn, NY, even after three appeals to local judges. This caused tickets to not go on sale because New York requires permits to be acquired before tickets can be sold. It lost its venue and main promoter CID Entertainment pulled out as well. During its appeals, Woodstock tried for a smaller venue in Vernon Downs in Vernon, New York and was denied again.

After failing on New York, it announced in the past week it was going to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. The concert would be free. In the midst of all of this, headliners were pulling out left and right like Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Raconteurs, The Lumineers, John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Dead & Company, and Loving Spoonful’s John Sebastian. The Black Keys pulled in April.

In the end, this was all too much to manage with only a few weeks to go. Cancellation was probably for the best. Another disastrous reunion concert could have damaged the legacy of Woodstock even further, especially with young people. The subsequent reunions in 1994 and 1999 were mired in violence and awful music. It was not worth it to try and force a bad festival using an iconic name.

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