Investors pull out of concert to mark Woodstock's 50th anniversary

Singer John Fogerty speaks during the announcement event for the lineup for the Woodstock 50th Anniversary concert in New York, US, on March 19, 2019.
Singer John Fogerty speaks during the announcement event for the lineup for the Woodstock 50th Anniversary concert in New York, US, on March 19, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A planned three-day concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival was thrown into doubt on Monday (April 29) after lead investors said they had cancelled the event.

But organisers said they were going ahead.

Woodstock 50 is planned for Aug 16-18 at the Watkins Glen motor racing venue in upstate New York with a line-up that includes rapper Jay-Z, singer Miley Cyrus and rockers Killers.

"The bottom line is, there is going to be a (festival), as there must be, and it's going to be a blast," Woodstock 50 said in a statement.

It 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.

Earlier on Monday, the festival's lead investors said they had "decided to cancel the event".

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".

 
 
 

Dentsu had a clause in its contract that gave it the option to cancel the festival, a representative of the investors said.

Woodstock 50 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 festival veterans John Fogerty, Canned Heat and Santana, would take part.

Some 100,000 fans were expected to attend and camp at the Watkins Glen site.

But the festival ran into trouble two weeks ago when the sale date for tickets was postponed. Ticket prices have not been announced.

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

Capacity was reduced to around 75,000, cutting into the financial feasibility of the festival, the source added.

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 anniversary event.

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