Investors bail from Woodstock, casting doubt on concert

NEW YORK • Do not book your August leave just yet. A planned three-day concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival was thrown into doubt on Monday after lead investors said they had cancelled it.

But organisers say they are going ahead. Woodstock 50 is planned for August 16 to 18 at the Watkins Glen motor-racing venue in New York, with a line-up that includes Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus and The Killers.

The event has been promoted as a modern version of the August 1969 Woodstock festival, which was billed as "three days of peace and music" and is regarded as one of the pivotal moments in music history.

On Monday, Dentsu Aegis Network, a unit of Japanese company Dentsu, said it was pulling out because it felt the event could not be produced "while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees".

The Woodstock 50 organiser said it would seek new investors.

Mr Michael Lang, co-producer of the 1969 festival and the man behind Woodstock 50, announced in March that more than 80 acts, including 1969 performers John Fogerty, Canned Heat and Santana, would take part.

About 100,000 fans were expected to attend. But the festival ran into trouble two weeks ago, when the sale date for tickets was postponed.

The festival met delays in obtaining permits and arranging for security, water and sanitation, said a source close to the event.

Capacity was reduced to about 75,000 people, cutting into the financial feasibility of the festival.

The non-profit Bethel Woods Centre for the Arts, owner of the field where the 1969 festival took place, has also scaled back plans for a three-day event.

It said in February it will instead host separate concerts by Ringo Starr, Santana and Doobie Brothers.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2019, with the headline 'Investors bail from Woodstock, casting doubt on concert'. Print Edition | Subscribe