“be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.”
Then, its production partner,Superfly, which co-produces Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, said Wednesday that it is no longer involved. A spokesperson for the company said,
“The producers of the Woodstock 50th anniversary festival hired Superfly to leverage our expertise as veteran event producers to manage festival operations, a role that aligned with our mission of creating shared experiences that build community.
Throughout our engagement our team provided counsel and recommendation on the necessary elements required to produce a safe and first-class experience. Following the decision of one of our clients, Dentsu, to cancel the event, we will no longer be participating in ongoing related activities.”
Michael Lang, who cofounded the original Woodstock concert, who was organizing Woodstock 50, said in a newsletter to potential ticket buyers that the show must go on…
“We have yet to understand why [financer Dentsu-Aegis] 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. … Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.”
A source said to Rolling Stone,
“Michael Lang created one of the sturdiest brands known to our culture. So what the fuck happened?”
Woodstock 50’s continuation could be rescued by a company like AEG, which produces Coachella, or C3, which produces Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Fest.
Rolling Stone says that AEG declined to comment to them and C3 said that the company would NOT be getting involved…
According to Billboard, Lang and other festival organizers may not even be able to use the name Woodstock 50 for any event they are able to produce following Dentsu’s cancellation:
“Lang and his partners co-own the Woodstock name through the Woodstock Ventures holding company, which they then leased to a separate holding company called Woodstock 50 LLC, which was created Aug. 31, 2018 according to records from the NYS Department of State. It’s unclear who controls Woodstock 50 although Billboard has confirmed that hotelier Greg Peck with Crescent Hotel is one of the board members of Woodstock 50 and that some investors in the group are represented by Beverly Hills attorney Alex Weingarten.
While the details of Woodstock Venture’s licensing agreement for the name Woodstock 50 are unknown, it’s unlikely that Lang can use the name Woodstock 50 for the event he is trying to create out of the ashes of his original vision. In fact it appears he’s already stopped using the Woodstock 50 name — he signed off the letter as Woodstock Ventures.”
But Lang has since sat down for an interview with The New York Times,
“People are being really supportive. Everybody is giving us the best of wishes, and ‘go get ’em’ kind of stuff. And we will deliver. I know that in this day and age when things are so buttoned down, and the industry is so buttoned down, this is kind of an oddity. But things happen when you are committed and have a purpose, and we are getting a lot of heartfelt support out there.
In 1969, we got kicked out of Wallkill a month before the festival was to happen. One of the miracles was that we found a site the next day.
Woodstock is kind of about … I don’t know how describe it other than that it’s just about commitment. We’re committed. We were committed then, and we’re not stopping now.“
Meanwhile, the site of the original concert, which houses the Woodstock-themed Museum at Bethel Woods and has been a music venue for over a decade now, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, is doing a concert weekend of their own. (Full disclosure, I just wrapped up my first class this week as a teaching artist at Bethel Woods.) According to their website, events to commemorate the 50th Anniversary include, “but are not limited to”…
“A series of programs and events developed to welcome all who wish to visit the historic site and museum, to hear music where history was made, and to reflect and celebrate the legacy of this hallowed ground.”
• Thursday, August 15: A screening of the Warner Bros. Academy-Award winning documentary, Woodstock: the Director’s Cut will be held on the historic festival field. Woodstock alum, Arlo Guthrie, will perform prior to the film screening, 50 years to the day after he appeared at the festival. [It’s SOLD OUT]
• Friday, August 16: Ringo Starr and his All Star Band (with Arlo Guthrie) plus Edgar Winter with The Edgar Winter Band, returning for the first time since performing at the festival…
•Saturday, August 17: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Woodstock legend, Santana returns to Bethel Woods Pavilion Stage, exactly 50 years after his Saturday afternoon festival performance… joined by special guests The Doobie Brothers.
• Sunday, August 18: To be announced…
Well, if you want to celebrate the legacy of Woodstock with others – Bethel, NY, is one place for sure you can go.
My art studio, shop and Gallery 52 are just minutes from the Bethel Woods concert site in a converted gas station that no doubt filled up cars on their way to or from the concert. I’m opening an exhibit there, 69/19: Woodstock, Stonewall and the Moon Landing on July 13 and will celebrate with a Woodstock party on Saturday August 17. If you are upstate, come by!
There’s also a new Woodstock documentary that is showing again today at the Tribeca Film Festival that’s touring the country and the on PBS you can see. If not, you can just stay at home and watch the original one. Here’s the theatrical trailer.