As we’ve seen, 2019 has been the Year of the Scam™. There may be another scam brewing. Woodstock 50 was (is?) supposed to be happening August 16-18. Yesterday Billboard reported that Dentsu Aegis Network, the festival’s lead investor, has pulled out of the event with the following statement:
“It’s a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements. We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. But 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."
The statement goes on, "As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
Tickets were supposed to go on sale April 22. Now on the website it says “coming soon”.
Also according to Billboard, there were “concerns about the capacity of the festival, site readiness, and permitting issues”. Apparently the festival “reached out to officials with Live Nation and AEG to inquire about a $20 million investment to save the event, but both companies declined the offer”.
Needless to say, everyone is now comparing Woodstock 50 to Fyre Festival. The promotor, Michael Lang, however, is insisting that Woodstock 50 will go forward, that Dentsu Aegis Network had no right to cancel, that the artists have already been paid, and they’re now trying to secure another financial backer.
If you were planning to go… do you still want to go?
Here’s the thing – even though Woodstock 50 sounds super disorganised, how is that any different, really, from the original festival? Fyre Festival was sold as a super deluxe experience. OG Woodstock was traffic jams, rain, and mud. It was a mess. People might have been too high and horny to care, but it was a mess. An actual mess. Mark Hosenball was there and wrote about it on the 40th anniversary. In his words, “Woodstock was, if not a nightmare, then a massive, teeming, squalid mess. If you like colossal traffic jams, torrential rain, reeking portable johns, barely edible food, and sprawling, disorganized crowds, then you would have found Woodstock a treat.”
SQUALID. That’s not how I would choose to spend a precious summer weekend (I can barely handle a picnic at a park across the street from my house) but, you know, if they’re commemorating the 50th anniversary of that festival specifically, isn’t it kinda on brand what’s happening now? Like if Woodstock is your thing, aren’t you kind of hoping that you’ll be sleeping in a puddle?
Yours in gossip,