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Woodstock 50 Co-Founder Says the Festival Is Still Happening

BETHEL, NY - AUGUST 14: A painted sign is displayed as the 40th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival approaches August 14, 2009 in Bethel, New York. Babudro said, "It was such a feeling of freedom, to be around a group of people of your same heart, mind and soul." On August 15-17 in 1969 an estimated 400,000 music fans gathered on Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel, N.Y. for the most celebrated music festival ever. The 40th anniversary concert will take place in Bethel tomorrow. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

It’s been a wild ride for the weird cross-section of old hippies and Halsey fans who were presumably interested in attending Woodstock 50. After rumors began circulating last month that the 50th anniversary celebration of the legendary ’69 concert would be cancelled, on Monday the festival’s funders said in a statement they were pulling out based on concern for “the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees,” confirming that the event was off. Or so it seemed. Almost immediately after that statement, the festival itself issued its own, “vehemently [denying] the festival’s cancellation.” Now, Michael Lang—a Woodstock 50 co-founder who also co-created the original 1969 concert—is doubling down that the show will go on in an interview with the New York Times. 

With Woodstock 50’s proposed August 16 start date about three months away, “we have a short window to put this back together,” Lang said in part. “That’s obvious. We feel it’s enough time, and there is enough interest, that we think we will accomplish it.” Doing that, Lang acknowledges, will mean finding another investor, which the festival has not yet done. However, he told the Times that every performer has been paid in full, and that “most of the sponsors” that were brought in for the festival are “secure.”

Lang and company may need to find more than another investor. Rolling Stone reported today that the production company Superfly, which co-produces Bonnaroo and had been a Woodstock 50 partner, has also pulled out of involvement with the festival. “Following the decision of one of our clients, Dentsu, to cancel the event, we will no longer be participating in ongoing related activities,” the statement read in part.

In the Times interview, which was published before the Superfly news, Lang compares Woodstock 50’s current situation with the 1969 Woodstock festival, which was forced to relocate to a new venue a month before it began. “We’re committed,” he said. “We were committed then, and we’re not stopping now.”