Is Woodstock 50 Really Cancelled?

Published on April 30, 2019

Woodstock 50 announced a surprise event and killer lineup just a couple of months ago. The once-in-a-lifetime event was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the iconic music festival that—for better or worse—was the catalyst in festival culture as we know it today. With appearances from artists like Miley Cyrus, Jay Z, The Lumineers, and Halsey, the event was set to capture the current zeitgeist in one, well-executed event. However, investors announced on Tuesday that they would be pulling out of the event, canceling it until further notice.

The Dentsu Aegis Network was the organization that was funding the festival. The investors pulled out of Woodstock 50 as of this week, citing production issues as the reason for cancelation. In a statement to Billboard made on Tuesday morning, the company wrote, “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,” wrote a rep for the Dentsu Aegis Network.

Festival Season

With festival season cranking a music festival out just about every weekend for the next four months, attendees will hardly miss the Woodstock that never was. After the fiasco that was Fyre Festival back in 2017, it’s no surprise that investors are weary to put their money into a new event if it isn’t guaranteed to come out in the way it was planned. Woodstock had allegedly been going through some troubles in securing the right permits for the event. It also missed its planned date to begin selling tickets last week, leading attendees to believe that something wasn’t quite what it seemed.

A rep for the festival told Billboard that Woodstock had reached out to other investment companies in order to secure funding for the event. There were rumored permit issues and other financial problems already happening. So both AEG and Live Nation declined the request for $20 million in funding. Woodstock 50 was supposed to take place August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, NY. The new location was just about 150 miles from the original Woodstock grounds. Where thousands of music and art lovers flocked in 1969 to celebrate music for three days. The original festival was somewhat of a famous fiasco, but those standards would never fly in a 2019 event, and planners needed to make sure everything would go according to plan in order to make it work in the first place.

Will It Happen Anyway?

Woodstock is one of the most famous—if not the most famous—festivals of all time. Its 50th anniversary event would still be considered a new event, though. Other festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo plan year-round and have had decades to perfect their event. So in those terms, Woodstock’s planners have a lot to learn. For now, Woodstock 50 has been cancelled. Fans should be weary of the festival if it were to suddenly go back on. With so many permitting, ticketing, funding, and capacity issues already at hand, things sound all too familiar to Fyre Festival’s past.


Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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