Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 October 2019

Woodstock 50th anniversary festival cancelled by lead investor

The planned festival was due to be headlined by rapper Jay-Z, singer Miley Cyrus and rockers The Killers.

The Killers are among confirmed acts for the Woodstock 50 line-up. Rob Loud/REX/Shutterstock
The Killers are among confirmed acts for the Woodstock 50 line-up. Rob Loud/REX/Shutterstock

A planned three-day concert event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival was cancelled on Monday by the lead investor, saying it was unable to ensure the health and safety of artists and fans.

Woodstock 50 was due to have taken place Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen in upstate New York with a line-up that included rapper Jay-Z, singer Miley Cyrus and rockers The Killers and John Fogerty.

"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," investors Dentsu Aegis Network, a unit of Japanese company Dentsu Inc, said in a statement.

"As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival," the statement added.

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.

Dentsu Aegis Network

Dentsu had a clause in its contract with the organisers that gave it the option to cancel the festival, a spokesperson for the investors said.

The producers of Woodstock 50 had no immediate comment on Monday.

The August 1969 Woodstock festival, which was billed as "three days of peace and music," is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in music history.

Michael Lang, the co-producer of the 1969 Woodstock festival, announced in January that the official 50th anniversary Woodstock Music and Arts Fair would take place in August at the Watkins Glen motor racing venue with more than 80 musical acts taking part.

Lang said the line-up, which included 1969 festival veterans John Fogerty, Canned Heat and Santana, reflected the event's mission to encourage "active support of equality, inclusion and a shared sustainable future."

But the 50th anniversary festival appeared to be running into trouble two weeks ago, when the sale date for tickets was postponed without a fresh date being given. Ticket prices had also not been announced.

The festival also ran into delays in getting permits, arranging security, water supplies and sanitation to accommodate the tens of thousands of fans expected to attend, said a source close to the event.

The non-profit Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, who are the current owners of the field where the 1969 Woodstock festival took place, are also organising a smaller 50th anniversary with a "pan-generational event" on the same dates in August.

Although it was known as Woodstock, the festival actually took place in Bethel, some 70 miles (110km) south of the village of Woodstock in upstate New York. (Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Updated: April 30, 2019 07:46 PM

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