“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,” Lang said in a statement. He added in part: “We thank the artists, fans and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity.”
Woodstock 50 was originally scheduled to take place Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International speedway in upstate New York. Dead & Company, Jay-Z, and the Killers were booked to headline an event billed as a social justice-minded anniversary festival partnered with several nonprofits.
The plan started to fall apart when Woodstock 50 lost access to the venue after disputes with their primary investor and production company caused both parties to pull out. Organizers unsuccessfully sued the investment company for sabotage and theft. Subsequent efforts to secure permits for a new venue in upstate New York also failed.
With weeks to spare, Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland agreed to host a downsized version of the festival with free admission. But after releasing all scheduled performers from their contracts, organizers failed to assemble a new lineup. “It was just too late in the game,” Seth Hurwitz, chairman of the company that operates the venue said in a statement.
Organizer Greg Peck expressed optimism that the festival’s legacy may yet live on, saying in a statement: “Woodstock’s values of peace and tolerance are more important today than ever for all of us to stand for and we look to the future for ways to honor and celebrate these ideals.”