Woodstock 50 has officially been canceled.

“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,” co-founder Michael Lang said in a statement.

The news comes less than a week after the festival appeared to find a new home at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. Woodstock 50 had been searching for a site after failed attempts to hold the festival in upstate New York, close to the original event’s location. Lang alluded to these venue struggles in his announcement of the cancellation.

“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.”

The festival founder went on to cite “radius issues” as part of the reason many performers could not commit to a proposed Maryland event. Lang encouraged the Woodstock 50 artists, who were all paid despite the event’s cancellation, to donate 10 percent of their fees to charitable causes “in the spirit of peace.”

The official cancellation brings to a close the long and tumultuous story of Woodstock 50. Plans for the event, honoring the anniversary of the iconic 1969 festival, were unveiled in January 2019. A lineup soon followed, featuring such vaunted acts as Dead & Company, Robert Plant, Jay-Z, the Killers, John Fogerty, the Raconteurs, Greta Van Fleet and Santana.

From there, however, things seemed to fall apart. Permit problems forced the festival to search for alternative venues. The main financial backer withdrew their involvement, spawning court battles. Artists were released from their contracts, leading many to wonder who would perform if the event ever take place. Even the brief ray of hope brought on by last week’s Maryland announcement was met by cancellation notices from several artists.

Though this official statement provides the final nail in Woodstock 50’s coffin, an unrelated anniversary event will still take place. The Bethel Woods Music and Culture Festival, located on the original Woodstock site, will be held Aug. 16-18.


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