Woodstock 50 is back in business, but it will be much smaller than originally planned and will be held at a location more than 250 miles away from the site of the original 1969 music festival.
Amid a series of roadblocks with original Woodstock 50 venue, Watkins Glen International, a speedway not far from the site of the 1969 Bethel, New York festival, organizers have moved the troubled anniversary celebration to the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, Bloomberg reports. The concert is now being pitched as “Woodstock 50 Washington.”
The new venue has an official capacity of 19,000, but the site can be expanded to hold over 32,000 people. Still, that’s a far cry from the 150,000-plus attendees that Woodstock 50 originally targeted for the three days of “peace, love, and music” from August 16-18.
The downsized venue isn’t the only issue. When the 50th anniversary festival was first announced, the lineup featured an impressive mix of superstars, including Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus, as well as original Woodstock performers David Crosby, Santana, John Fogerty, and members of the Grateful Dead and Hot Tuna. As of now, there are no artists attached to “Woodstock 50 Washington,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
The contract for Woodstock 50 reportedly stated the artists would only be held to the booking if the festival was staged at original site, Watkins Glen International Speedway, but would be paid regardless of whether they performed or not, Variety notes. It would be unlikely if the top acts agreed to the move to the smaller seated amphitheater, and one Woodstock veteran has already publicly pulled out of the show.
In a statement posted by Variety, a rep for original Woodstock performer John Fogerty made it clear the Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman will not be trekking to Maryland for the downsized Woodstock 50 fest.
“John Fogerty knows where he will be for the anniversary weekend of Woodstock. At only one site… at the original one – the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.”
Fogerty was one of a handful of artists from the original 1969 lineup who had made plans to appear at both a nostalgic gathering at Bethel Woods as well as the massive Woodstock 50 revival in Watkins Glen.
In addition, David Crosby, who also performed at the original 1969 Woodstock as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and was originally scheduled for Woodstock 50, recently denounced the anniversary concert and blasted a mystery organizer whom he believes is responsible for its demise.
“It’s dead,” Crosby said of Woodstock 50, per Good Morning America. “There is a person in that situation who is a scammer, and has always been a scammer, and he scammed this.”
Crosby would not comment when asked if he was referring to Woodstock 50 promoter Michael Lang.
Tickets are currently expected to cost between $129 and $595 for one-day passes to the Woodstock 50, but no sale date has yet been announced.