50th anniversary of Woodstock in jeopardy


(From left) Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, pop star Miley Cyrus and rapper Chance the Rapper are among the many musical acts booked for the 50th anniversary of the iconic Woodstock Music and Art Festival. The festival is now up in the air due to a financial sponsor pulling funding.

By Peter Zemeske

Viability of the 50th anniversary edition of Woodstock is in question after one of its main financial backers, Dentsu Aegis Network, announced the festival is cancelled in a statement released April 29. If the festival withstands, it will be held in Watkins Glen, New York from Aug. 16 to 18.

Dentsu Aegis Network said they endorse the festival’s vision, but don’t think it’s possible with the time constraints.

“…Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment,” the statement reads, “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 company has put in $30 million toward the festival so far, according to a May 1 Variety article.

Woodstock 50 released a statement April 29 refuting its cancelation, saying Dentsu Aegis had no right to cancel.

“Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancellation and legal remedy will [be] sought,” the statement reads. “Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners.”

Questions were raised about Woodstock 50 after one of its main headliners, blues rock duo The Black Keys, cancelled its appearance. The band released a statement on April 5 saying a “scheduling conflict” was the reason for cancelling.

The lineup features a mix of artists old and new, including The Killers, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Santana and Dead & Company. The last two mentioned performed at the original 1969 festival.