About five years ago, Michael Lang, the legendary organiser of Woodstock, began talking about a considered 50th anniversary event that would take place in 2019. The event would be the first of this millennium, the last (albeit ill-fated) event taking place in 1999.
Woodstock 50, as it’s been dubbed, is scheduled to be taking place in a little over two weeks time from Monday, 16th August to Wednesday, 18th August. However, the beleaguered festival has continually run into roadblocks along the way.
It basically started snowballing at the start of June, when organisers began to attempt to relocate the festival to Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. This decision came after four failed attempts to get the concert to happen at Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY, which came after the original location, Watkins Glen International, terminated the contract.
“It definitely could happen here,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball told Rolling Stone. “It’s up to the promoter and Merriweather.”
This week, a rep for the venue simply put, “No updates on my end.”
Amongst all of the venue drama, the actual lineup for the event has taken multiple hits over the last few weeks, with Jay-Z and Woodstock 69′ alum John Fogarty being the first to pull out of the lineup.
Since then, other alumni including Country Joe McDonald and the Lovin’ Spoonful founder John Sebastian have publicly disavowed themselves from the festival.
“John Fogerty knows where he will be for the anniversary weekend of Woodstock,” Fogerty’s rep said in a statement. “At only one site … At the original one – the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.”
“I have no airfare booked,” McDonald told the Baltimore Sun. “I have no hotels. I have nothing planned. I’m not interested in getting on a ship that’s sinking, and I don’t see any indication that this ship is not sinking.”
“I was with them all the way until the location changed,” Sebastian added while talking with Rolling Stone. “And it pisses me off, because I feel like a blood brother with [promoter Michael Lang], and I would love to be able to join him.”
Yesterday, a rep for The Raconteurs confirmed that the band would no longer be performing at Woodstock 50. Since then, The Lumineers, Miley Cyrus, Pussy Riot and Santana have all reportedly pulled out too.
“Carlos is definitively not playing Merriweather Post Pavilion and has added his name to those who will not be appearing,” Santana’s rep told Rolling Stone. “We can’t come back and do a free show two days after a paid show. Go buy a ticket to the Supernatural show!”
Because the festival still doesn’t have a venue on lock, they’ve been unable to put any tickets on sale, which is one of the reasons why artists are pulling out left, right and centre.
“Merriweather requires ticketing,” an anonymous Woodstock 50 spokesperson told Washington radio station WTOP. “For the peaceful enjoyment of all, thoughtful logistical planning has taken place for Woodstock 50 at Merriweather.”
“Tickets are for a single day,” they said. “Tickets will be distributed through HeadCount, participating artists’ foundations and local charitable partnerships in D.C. and Baltimore.”
If the three-day event is to go ahead, they will be aiming to make the festival complimentary.
UPDATE 01/08/19: Woodstock 50, A Bonafide Trainwreck, Is Officially Cancelled