After a slew of mounting problems, Woodstock 50 is officially canceled, with organizers announcing on Wednesday (July 31st) they would no longer attempt to stage the event at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.
Michael Lang, co-founder of Woodstock, released a lengthy statement explaining the decision and apologizing for the end of one of the biggest anniversary events in history:
“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…. When we lost the Glen and then Vernon Downs we looked for a way to do some good rather than just cancel. 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.”
“We released all the talent so any involvement on their part would be voluntary,” Lang continued. “Due to conflicting radius issues in the DC area many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons. I would like to encourage artists and agents, who all have been fully paid, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace. Woodstock remains committed to social change and will continue to be active in support of HeadCount’s critical mission to get out the vote before the next election. 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.”
The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise as cracks in the event’s foundation started soon after as it was announced. Over the course of months, Woodstock’s 50th anniversary show lost its venue, multiple big-name artists, investors and the confidence of its fans. A last-ditch effort was made to possibly create a free benefit concert to raise awareness and funding for get-out-the-vote non-profit HeadCount and organizations that combat global warming, but it was just too late. Unfortunately, the show will not go on.