Woodstock 50 was to take place at Watkins Glen International, but the venue will no longer be holding the festival. A statement released by the venue on Monday reads, “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”
This isn’t the first blow for Woodstock 50. Back in April, the major financer of the festival, Dentsu, pulled out of the festival due to health and safety concerns, disagreement over the site’s capacity and other permitting issues. This resulted in a lengthy court battle ending with a judge allowing the festival to go ahead, however Dentsu did not have to return the $17.8 million dollars it withdrew from the festival’s shared bank account prior to announcing its cancelation.
Last month, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang luckily found a new financial backer, investment bank Oppenheimer & Co., although there were still several unresolved issues remaining.
According to court documents from his conflict with Dentsu (via Billboard), Lang sought a capacity of 125,000 people, while Superfly, the company he hired to produce the festival, believed that 65,000 was more of a realistic number due to safety concerns. The reduction in the capacity of the festival altered revenue models and led Dentsu to decide that the festival was no longer financially viable. After Lang refused to alter talent budgers to accommodate for the new revenue models, both Dentsu and Superfly ended their involvments in the event.
It’s still unclear whether Lang has resolved capacity issues, or even if he has attained the necessary permits to hold the festival. It’s also unknown whether artists previously booked will play the festival and honour their contracts.
“We’re not even going to have a discussion with Lang until we see that every permit needed for this event has been secured, “a talent agency head previously told Billboard. “I’d also like to hear how he plans to convince fans to buy tickets for an event that’s been already canceled.”
In response to today’s news, Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn told the Poughkeepsie Journal that Watkins Glen International’s decision “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. We commend Watkins Glen International for their actions, which we feel are in the overall best interest of the community,” O’Hearn added.
Woodstock 50 is set to includes performances from Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, The Killers, Santana and Imagine Dragons.