Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration canceled after lineup, financial problems

Stephen Chernin | AP
Stephen Chernin | AP
This Aug. 14, 2009 file photo shows a van decorated with "Woodstock or Bust" at the original Woodstock Festival site in Bethel, N.Y.
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Woodstock 50 organizers announced on Wednesday that the beleaguered music festival, which was to take place Aug. 16 through Aug. 18, is canceled.
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Woodstock 50 organizers announced on Wednesday that the beleaguered music festival, which was to take place Aug. 16 through Aug. 18, is canceled.

“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,” organizer Michael Lang, co-founder of the 1969 festival, said in a statement.

Organizers had been forced to relocate the commemorative festival last week to Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, after failing to secure permits for venues in both Watkins Glen and Vernon, New York. Artists announced in March as part of the festival lineup – which included Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus and the Killers, as well as 1969 performers Dead and Company, Santana and John Fogerty – were released from their contracts after the move to Merriweather. Lang cited the new location as part of the reason so many artists had dropped out of performing in the past week.

“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,” Lang’s statement said. “We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary. Due to conflicting radius issues in the DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons.”

He later added: “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.”

 



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