The prospects of a successful 50th anniversary staging of Woodstock seemed dead as soon as the festival’s chief financial backer ceased its involvement, citing concerns over artist and staff security, a lack of permits, and disagreements over site capacity. Nevertheless, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang and his team have forged on — and confidently so. Amidst public spats with community organizers, venue owners, and booking agents, Lang has assured fans that Woodstock would go down as planned over the weekend of August 16th-18th.
Now, with exactly 35 days to go and still without a venue to stage the event, it seems reality is finally beginning to set in on Lang. How so? Well, he’s just thrown the most desperate and pathetic of Hail Mary’s.
“Will the Town of Vernon allow peace, love & music to prevail so we can celebrate Woodstock50 with you?” the festival wrote in an Instagram post on Thursday. “Upon permit approval we’ll announce our ticket on sale. Please share to show your support.”
It goes without saying, but it’s unlikely that the town of Vernon, New York, where Woodstock is hoping to stage the event, will bypass months of regulatory red tape and overlook concerns over traffic, capacity, and security issues because a few people shared a desperate plea on Instagram. Additionally, representatives for many of the confirmed artists maintain that their contracts with Woodstock are now void, as the festival is not taking place at the Watkins Glen, New York venue where it was originally announced to be held. Such a post also doesn’t convey a sense of stability to potential investors who are needed to make up the $30 million difference in operation funds lost when the initial backer pulled out.
It’s been obvious for months now, but today’s Instagram post should end any remaining doubt: Woodstock 50 isn’t happening.
Here’s to Woodstock 75, which will undoubtedly just be a bunch of dead musicians’ holograms. Even so, I’m sure they’ll find a way to mess it up.