It looks like there is a bit of confusion regarding Woodstock 50. Backers for the event, which is supposed to take place in Watkins Glen, NY on August 16-18, are claiming it has been cancelled. However, the organizers for the festival are saying that is not true.
Dentsu Aegis Network told Billboard the following:
“It’s a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements. We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. But despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
Organizers then issued their own statement to the Poughkeepsie Journal:
“Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancelation and legal remedy will (be) sought.”
Promoter and co-founder Michael Lang also commented during a chat with the New York Times, saying “They do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival.” He further claimed that all of the performers have already been paid and that the event will be saved if another company backs it.
UPDATE: Lang has since issued a lengthier statement [via Rolling Stone]:
“It seems in a way that history is repeating itself. In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!
This time around, Woodstock’s new hometown, Dix & Watkins Glen, NY and New York State have been really wonderful. I went door to door to talk to the neighbors. Some remembered Summer Jam back in ’73 and were worried about history repeating itself. But they opened their doors to us and we talked it out. Many of those people have reached out over the last 24 hours with messages of hope and encouragement.
The venue, Watkins Glen International, have been totally supportive and professional.
Yesterday, our financial partner, Dentsu-Aegis, made the decision to pull out and informed us that they were cancelling the festival at the same time they let the press release go public.
We have yet to understand why they would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way. It is one thing to decide for oneself that it is best to move on, but it is entirely another thing to try and close the door on us.
Yesterday, I couldn’t help but relive that moment 50 years ago — it was ‘déjà vu all over again’!
Supporting the principles of activism and sustainability are too important to be derailed by shortsighted partners.
We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track.
Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.
Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will.
We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!
Thanks for Listening, Michael”
If the festival goes on as planned, it will feature rock acts like Greta Van Fleet, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Dead & Company, The Killers, Rival Sons, Fever 333, Dorothy, John Fogerty, and Santana performing alongside acts like Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, etc.