Update: The organizers of Woodstock 50 have released a statement about the change of venue, vowing to move forward. “We confirm that we will not be moving forward with Watkins Glen as a venue for Woodstock 50,” Gregory Peck, one of the festival’s principal organizers, said. “We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th — 18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.”
The beleaguered Woodstock 50 festival has hit two more hurdles. A little over two months ahead of the planned August event at Watkins Glen International, the venue has pulled out of its contract with its organizers. “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract,” a rep for the racetrack said in a statement. “As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”
A rep for Woodstock 50 did not comment on the decision.
Shortly after Watkins Glen announced it was terminating its contract, CID Entertainment, the production company that stepped in for Superfly after they backed out of producing the event, told Billboard that it was no longer involved in the festival. “CID Entertainment had been engaged to provide enhanced camping, travel packages and transportation for Woodstock 50. Given developments, we can confirm that CID is no longer involved in Woodstock 50 in any capacity,” the company said in a statement.
Tim O’Hearn, the Schuyler County Administrator wohse jurisdiction includes Watkins Glen International, said in a statement that WGI’s announcement “comes as a major disappointment to us in that we looked forward to hosting this iconic event in our community.”
“While today’s announcement is difficult to absorb, it is not completely unexpected, given the well-publicized delays related to this planned event,” he added. “We commend Watkins Glen International for their actions, which we feel are in the overall best interest of the community.”
Over the last six weeks, the festival has faced a number of unexpected obstacles. A week after tickets were supposed to go on sale in late April, the festival’s financier, Dentsu Aegis, pulled its funding and ostensibly canceled it; a justice of the New York Supreme Court later ruled that the festival did not have the right to cancel it but that it also did not need to return money it had taken from a festival bank account. Shortly after Dentsu backed out, the festival’s production partner, Superfly, also canceled its contract with Woodstock 50; that company also produces Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.
Despite these losses, the festival attempted to stay afloat by finding a new financial partner, Oppenheimer & Co. It also continues to work toward securing a necessary mass gathering permit from New York State. Additionally, in late May, a rep for the New York State Police told Rolling Stone that the festival had yet to address a number of concerns one of its troopers had about the planning of the festival.
With just 67 days to go before Woodstock 50 was supposed to start, on August 16th, and no tickets on sale yet, the festival’s future is unclear. If it does go forward, headliners (as announced) include the Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons and Halsey, among others.
On May 17th, when Woodstock 50 announced Oppenheimer coming on board, its organizers were optimistic. Michael Lang, who cofounded the original iconic festival, said the show would go on. “We look forward to putting on an incredible festival,” he said. “Words cannot express how appreciative Woodstock 50, the artists, the fans and the community are to Oppenheimer for joining with us to make W50 a reality.”