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Woodstock 50 festival cancelled, according to financial backer

Woodstock 50 2019

UPDATE: Woodstock organizers “vehemently deny” festival cancellation.

While organizer and original co-founder Michael Lang recently called cancellation fears “just more rumors,” Watkins Glen, NY Woodstock anniversary festival Woodstock 50 has been cancelled following ticket sale postponements, artist cancellations and other uncertainties. Officials from Dentsu Aegis Network, the advertising agency financing the festival, released a 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.

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.

UPDATE: Amplifi Live also told Vulture that “Woodstock 50 organizers repeatedly missed production milestones, including securing talent, proper permitting, and audience capacity estimates.” “In addition,” they continued, “the infrastructure required to make this event become a reality is far behind schedule,” including “water sources, sanitation facilities, and safe entrances and exits from the site.”

Tickets to Woodstock 50 were originally set to go on sale on Earth Day, April 22, but the date was postponed, with talent agents receiving an email informing them of a “hold.” Speculation about issues with investors or the festival site (the same location where Phish’s 2018 Curveball festival was to be held, before it was cancelled due to a state of emergency and health concerns in NY) abounded, while it was also discovered that the festival had yet to obtain a mass gathering permit from the NY State Department of Health.

The cancellation of Woodstock 50 comes after Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, located on the site of the original Woodstock, scaled back their own planned festival, which Live Nation and brand communications agency INVNT were to produce with the venue. Instead, three separate Bethel shows are planned on anniversary weekend: Ringo Starr and his All-Starr Band on Friday 8/16 (tickets), Santana on Saturday 8/17 (tickets), and John Fogerty on Sunday 8/18 (ticket information TBA).

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