4/29/2019 by Dave Brooks
“We don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name.”
Woodstock 50 has been cancelled. Earlier today officials with Dentsu Aegis Network, which is funding the festival, released the following statement to Billboard:
“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.”
The statement goes on, “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.”
Headliners at the three-day event included The Killers, Dead and Co, Imagine Dragons and Jay-Z. Other artists on the bill included Miley Cyrus, The Lumineers, Chance the Rapper, Sturgill Simpson, Halsey and Cage the Elephant, among many others. Organizers also enticed several veteran musicians from the original 1969 Woodstock to perform, including John Fogerty, John Sebastian, David Crosby, Canned Heat and Country Joe McDonald.
Reps for the festival say concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness and permitting issues led to the cancellation of the commemorative event, which had been scheduled for Aug. 16-18. Last week, a representative for the festival reached out to officials with Live Nation and AEG to inquire about a $20 million investment to save the event, but both companies declined the offer.
The solicitation came just days after missing a deadline to begin selling tickets for the Aug. 16-18 festival. Besides issues with financing and permits, organizers were growing increasingly concerned that the Watkins Glen International speedway would not be able accommodate the 100,000-person festival.
More than $30 million has already been spent on the festival lineup, a source with knowledge of the proposal tells Billboard and most artists have already been paid by Amplify Live, the investment arm of Dentsu Aegis Network, a multinational media and digital marketing firm headquartered in London and a wholly owned by Japanese media firm Dentsu.
Billboard will update this story as more information becomes available.