Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang has released a lengthy new statement vowing that his 50th-anniversary festival will take place, despite the event's main investors announcing it was canceled yesterday.
On Monday (April 29), Dentsu, one of the festival's backers, announced that the show, organized in part by Lang, would not proceed. Dentsu said in a statement: "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 Amplify Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival."
Earlier today, Lang sent a newsletter to people who registered for updates on the festival saying that he would find a way to make it work.
Lang wrote (as per Rolling Stone): "Dear Woodstock Friends
"It seems in a way that history is repeating itself. In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!
"This time around, Woodstock's new hometown, Dix & Watkins Glen, NY and New York State have been really wonderful. I went door to door to talk to the neighbors. Some remembered Summer Jam back in '73 and were worried about history repeating itself. But they opened their doors to us and we talked it out. Many of those people have reached out over the last 24 hours with messages of hope and encouragement.
"The venue, Watkins Glen International, have been totally supportive and professional.
"Yesterday, our financial partner, Dentsu-Aegis, made the decision to pull out and informed us that they were cancelling the festival at the same time they let the press release go public.
"We have yet to understand why they would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way. It is one thing to decide for oneself that it is best to move on, but it is entirely another thing to try and close the door on us.
"Yesterday, I couldn't help but relive that moment 50 years ago — it was 'déjà vu all over again'!
"Supporting the principles of activism and sustainability are too important to be derailed by shortsighted partners.
"We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track.
"Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don't have a right to cancel it.
"Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will.
"We don't give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!
"Thanks for Listening, Michael"
The lineup, announced last month, had included THE KILLERS, THE LUMINEERS, THE RACONTEURS, Robert Plant, GRETA VAN FLEET, PORTUGAL. THE MAN, IMAGINE DRAGONS, CAGE THE ELEPHANT, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, Brandi Carlile, Janelle Monae, Vince Staples and many others, although the BLACK KEYS pulled out of the event after being part of the initial bill.
Veterans of the 1969 event who were confirmed to perform included John Fogerty, SANTANA, DEAD & COMPANY, DAVID CROSBY & FRIENDS, John Sebastian, Melanie, CANNED HEAT, Country Joe McDonald and HOT TUNA.
Tickets for the three-day event were supposed to go on sale April 22, but the sale was delayed, prompting rumors that the three-day event — set to take place from August 16 through August 18, the exact 50th anniversary of the original culture-defining event — was in trouble.
According to Billboard, $30 million had already been spent on securing talent for the festival, and organizers allegedly sought another $20 million to keep it afloat last week. Experienced concert organizers were also approached about helping to salvage the show, although two of the biggest — AEG and Live Nation — reportedly both passed.