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Jay-Z and John Fogerty drop off Woodstock 50 after move to MD

The Meadows 2017 - Friday
Jay-Z at The Meadows in 2017 (more by P Squared)

The troubled Woodstock 50 has found an eleventh hour replacement venue in Columbia, MD’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, but its troubles are far from over. Artists contracted to play the festival, which was originally scheduled for Watkins Glen in New York State, may not consider the location change part of what they agreed to, and sure enough, two artists from the original lineup have reportedly dropped off. Variety reports that original Woodstock artist John Forgerty is the first. A scathing Thursday night statement from his camp reads, “John Fogerty knows where he will be for the anniversary weekend of Woodstock. At only one site… at the original one – the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. As (Fogerty) says in his song ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain,’ written upon returning from Woodstock – ‘NO MORE CONFUSION ON THE GROUND.’ When John took the call from the organizers in 1969 and was asked to play a festival called Woodstock,’ John accepted. He and his band were the first act to sign up for the festival leading other iconic bands to follow… So now, 50 years later, John is going back to the original site where his name appears on a plaque commemorating that weekend. John will celebrate his own 50th Anniversary as well as Woodstock’s, together at Bethel on August 18. Back at the original site that he stepped foot on 50 years ago, nearly to the day!”

Fogerty previously spoke about the already-troubled Woodstock 50 back in late April; that permits were late being secured “just blew my mind,” he said at the time.

Jay-Z has also pulled out of Woodstock 50, according to a report from the Associated Press, who say that a source familiar with the situation spoke to them under the condition of remaining anonymous, because they weren’t allowed to discuss it publicly.

Another original Woodstock 1969 performer, David Crosby, seems unlikely to play the modified venue; he recently called the festival “dead” and “not happening,” and suggested that a “scammer” was involved.

Meanwhile, Sean Hurwitz, the chairman and cofounder of I.M.P., which operates Merriweather Post Pavilion, spoke to Pollstar about hosting the festival at the venue:

Pollstar: What’s going on with Woodstock?
Seth Hurwitz: Basically what I have to say is they approached us about finding a venue in D.C., I said Merriweather is available. We have a show booked that day [The Smashing Pumpkins are schedule to play Aug. 17], there’s still some things we have to work around. We’re not sure if we’ll do all those days or not. Which of those three days we’ll actually do, it’s still being talked about, but my role is merely as the venue. And we would help obviously produce the show in-house for them if they bring us the show but as far as the content is concerned, we have nothing to do with that, that’s all them.

Pollstar:So there’s no signed contract?
Hurwitz:They have a contract with us if they have a show to present along with a few details. If they have a real show than we have a real venue. It’s up to them to work things out with whomever they want to play, but it’s not my business. If they have a show we have a place for them to play. There’s no concern about permits or any of that. Anything beyond that I’m not even going to a stick a toe in it.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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