Woodstock 50 Seems All But Doomed

The saga continues....

May 8, 2019

John Williams / Getty

Things have not gone well for the 50th anniversary incarnation of Woodstock.  

First there was news of 2 competing events, which ultimately proved to be an unfounded concern.  Then there was the lack of ability to obtain the festival's original location, Watkins Glen.  Then the somewhat baffling line up, which juxtaposed names like Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus against Santana & The Dead and Co, all the while filling blanks with major Alt artists like The Black Keys, The Lumineers, and The Killers.  Before long, questions regarding the fest's stability began to arise, with a scheduled on-sale date for tickets coming and going, and the departure of the aforementioned Black Keys from the line-up, giving all but too real flashbacks to Blink-182's intelligently advised exit from a seemingly faltering Fyre Fest (I think we all know how that turned out).  

In the weeks since, Woodstock 50's financial backer, Dentsu Inc. announced it's withdrawal from the event and simultaneously the anniversary's cancellation, via press release.  Original Co-Founder Michael Lang responded via open letter, saying while it was within their rights to abandon ship, they possessed no authority to deem the event dead, insisting it would be moving forward and exploring legal options.  Adding insult to injury, events company Superfly, who's production credits include Bonnaroo & Outside Lands, among others, pulled out of the event shortly after.

This weeks latest update finds Lang publicly sharing Dentsu has swept event accounts to the tune of $17 million, while asserting the company has also encouraged artists to drop out of the much plagued event.  Insisting this is a violation of the terms of their original agreement, he's pleading for his former partners to return the monies and stop interfering with the fest moving forward.  While a majority of the festival's artists have yet to officially bail, as the August 16th event date continues to rush towards us, it certainly begs the question... who has the confidence to attend this thing?

Will it be an enjoyable experience, much less a safe one? At this point it seems Woodstock 50 is headed for an inevitable destiny, but ultimately the decision will land in the laps of ticket buyers on whether this thing will move forward... if we can make it that far.

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