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Woodstock 50 is “dead” and “not happening,” David Crosby says

David Crosby at Capitol Theatre
David Crosby at Capitol Theatre in 2018 (more by P Squared)

At less than a month before it’s scheduled to begin, the troubled Woodstock 50 remains without venue, producer, or having tickets on sale. Asked about whether they’ll play the festival, some artists have been coy or evasive — Jack White said, “I don’t really understand it myself” — but David Crosby is clearly unafraid to say what we’ve all been thinking while watching Woodstock apply and reapply for a permit at Vernon Downs. Speaking to ABC News, Crosby, who is on Saturday, 8/17’s lineup, didn’t mince words. “It’s not happening,” he said. “It’s dead.”

“There is a person in that situation who is a scammer,” Crosby continued, “and has always been a scammer, and he scammed this.” He wouldn’t elaborate on who, exactly, he meant.

Crosby performed as part of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at the original 1969 edition of Woodstock that August’s festival is supposed to be celebrating the 50th anniversary of. A Cameron Crowe-produced documentary about his life and career, David Crosby: Remember My Name, arrives in theaters today (7/19), and tickets to screenings in NYC and LA are on sale now. He also performs at a free Lincoln Center Out of Doors show in NYC in August.

Meanwhile, Woodstock 50 organizers have applied yet again for a permit to stage the festival at replacement venue Vernon Downs, even after being denied multiple times. Variety presents an idea about why organizers may be unwilling to throw in the towel themselves:

“What happens next? It dies,” one major agent tells Variety, holding out no hope that the festival will actually take place. And because most if not all of the performers have already been paid, with their fees being held in escrow — an amount totaling $32 million, according to a court filing — the agent says that the that the money will soon be transferred into accounts for the artists’ representatives and distributed accordingly.

While that is a worst-case scenario for Woodstock 50’s producers, they are in a challenging position: Because the artists have already been paid, the producers cannot cancel the festival themselves without forfeiting many millions of dollars. The cancellation must come from health and safety, law-enforcement or government officials in order for the festival to collect insurance on the payments, a source tells Variety.

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