All change for free-to-attend Woodstock 50
Woodstock 50 has been subject to more upheaval over the past few days, moving out of New York state, reportedly releasing all scheduled artists from contracts and making tickets free.
Eighteen days out from the anniversary event, organisers of struggling Woodstock 50 have announced a new venue, 275 miles south of the original site at Watkins Glen.
The festival is now to take place at the 32,000-capacity Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland state, having lost its first venue at Watkins Glen racetrack and later failing to secure a permit for replacement site, Vernon Downs racecourse.
Following the new venue announcement, artists were reportedly released from festival contracts, as the distance from the original site allegedly constituted a contractual breach.
All artist names and line-up information has since been removed from the Woodstock 50 website.
Acts scheduled to perform at Woodstock 50 included Jay-Z, Dead and Company, John Fogerty, the Killers, Miley Cyrus and Santana.
“We’re still waiting to hear who is playing, but [..] they [Woodstock] do still have a venue if they have a show”
“We’re still waiting to hear who is playing, but that’s not our job,” says Seth Hurtwitz, chairman and co-founder of venue operator IMP. “They do still have a venue if they have a show.”
It has also been announced that the event will now be free-to-attend, although remaining ticketed.
“Tickets are for a single day and will be distributed through HeadCount, participating artists’ foundations and local charitable partnerships in DC and Baltimore,” a Woodstock 50 spokesperson told Washington-based publication, WTOP.
Festival organiser Michael Lang has faced difficulties since the event’s primary financier, Amplifi Live, pulled out in April. The event has since lost production partners Superfly and replacement CID Entertainment, as well as its two previous venues.
Woodstock 50 is still scheduled to take place on the original dates from 16 to 18 August, with tickets yet to be distributed.
Merriweather Post Pavilion is to host concerts by Morrisey, the Smashing Pumpkins and Vampire Weekend over the coming weeks. In addition to Merriweather, IMP also operates Washington venues Anthem (6,000-cap.), 9:30 (1,200-cap.) and Lincoln Theatre (1,225-cap.).
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Woodstock organisers blame permit rejection on “politics”
The organisers of the beleaguered Woodstock anniversary festival have blamed “certain political forces”, following the denial of a temporary event permit from the town of Vernon in New York State.
The small town rejected the festival’s request for a permit yesterday (10 July), on the basis that its application was late and incomplete.
In a statement released today, Woodstock organisers stated that “certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival.”
The Woodstock 50 team also denied that they had submitted incomplete filing for the permit.
“Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did,” reads the statement.
“Certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival”
Organisers indicated that they plan to file an appeal of the decision, saying they were “hopeful” that such a reapplication would “prevail without further political interference”.
The permit rejection followed a meeting in which officials raised concerns over the ability to ensure safety at the event, given the short timeframe available.
Woodstock 50 is scheduled to take place from August 16 to 18. Tickets are yet to go onsale.
The future of the 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock has been in doubt ever since its financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, pulled its support in April.
Woodstock 50 woes mount as venue pulls out
With under ten weeks until kick-off, the still permit-less Woodstock 50 anniversary event has added to its organisational woes by losing both its venue, the Watkins Glen racetrack in New York state, and production partner CID Entertainment.
In a statement released yesterday afternoon (11 June) US time, a spokesperson for Watkins Glen International (WGI) simply said: “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license [sic] for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”
Watkins Glen’s cancellation was followed less than hour later by news that CID Entertainment – itself a stand-in for Superfly, which was originally supposed to produce the event – would, “given developments”, also be forced to pull its involvement, reports Billboard.
The future of the festival, conceived as a 50th-anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock in 1969 by organiser Michael Lang, has been up in the air since original its financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, pulled out in April. Upon Amplifi’s withdrawal, Dentsu reps declared they had unilaterally cancelled the festival, though a New York judge ruled the following month the event would still be allowed to go ahead.
“We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50”
Lang and partners secured a new financial financial backer, in the form of investment bank Oppenheimer and Co., in May, though Woodstock 50 still lacks the mass-gathering permit from local authorities needed to ahead, according to Rolling Stone.
Additionally, tickets are not yet on sale, despite the festival being just over two months away.
Despite the latest setbacks, festival co-organiser Gregory Peck is upbeat Woodstock 50 will go ahead as planned. “We confirm that we will not be moving forward with Watkins Glen as a venue for Woodstock 50,” says Peck in a statement. “We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th–18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.”
Acts booked to perform include the Killers, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, Imagine Dragons and 1969 performers Santana and Dead and Company.