ArtsDistrict

Woodstock 50 Officially Cancelled Amid Merriweather Post Pavilion Speculation

Venue agreed to host with artists’ commitment, but organizers called off event Wednesday.

By Evan Greenberg | July 31, 2019, 4:15 pm

ArtsDistrict

Woodstock 50 Officially Cancelled Amid Merriweather Post Pavilion Speculation

Venue agreed to host with artists’ commitment, but organizers called off event Wednesday.

By Evan Greenberg | July 31, 2019, 4:15 pm

After a prolonged series of setbacks and artist pull-outs, the founders of the 50th anniversary Woodstock Music and Arts Festival announced Wednesday afternoon that the event has officially been cancelled.

In a press release, festival organizers cited multiple reasons for the cancellation—including struggles with the originally planned location of the Glen and Vernon Downs in upstate New York, as well as artist conflicts when a subsequent plan to hold a version of the festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, was floated but didn’t gain traction.

"Due to conflicting radius issues in the D.C. area, many acts were unable to participate and others passed for their own reasons," said Woodstock 50 co-founder Michael Lang, who also encouraged artists and agents, who all had been fully paid, to donate 10 percent of their fees to causes of their choice in the spirit of peace. “We thank the artists, fans, and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity. My thoughts turn to Bethel and its celebration of our 50th anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity, and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock."

Whether the festival would go on as planned has been an ongoing saga.

In its first iteration, the festival was to be held at the Watkins Glen racetrack in upstate New York in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock. The idea was for it to have the same energy of the past rock festivals that have long lived in infamy. But as the closer the calendar inched toward to the August 16 date, the more skeptical both concertgoers and artists became.

When the original plans fell through—legal battles withstanding—organizers scrambled to find another venue. Merriweather Post Pavilion had agreed to host the event as long as bands and artists signed on. But that proved too difficult to arrange in a short amount of time. This past week, an array of big-name artists, from John Fogerty to Jay-Z, backed out of their performances.

"Hopefully, with plenty of time to prepare, Merriweather will become the site of a future festival that captures the original vibe,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., which operates Merriweather Post Pavilion. "While we were able to quickly eliminate the venue portion of the challenge to present Woodstock, it was just too late in the game. A lot of people clearly wanted it to happen."

In the end, it became clear to organizers that trying to put an event together at this point in time would not live up to the standards of what they had originally intended.

“We worked hard to find a way to produce a proper tribute,” said Greg Peck, principal of Woodstock 50. “Woodstock's values of peace and tolerance are more important today than ever for all of us to stand for, and we look to the future for ways to honor and celebrate these ideals."




Meet The Author

Evan Greenberg is the digital editorial assistant for Baltimore magazine. A native of Atlanta, he works on digital initiatives and explores the how and why of what makes the people, places, and things of Baltimore tick.



You May Also Like


The Chatter

Signal Station North Hopes to Light Up the Neighborhood at Night

New initiative aims to draw foot traffic by illuminating artwork and businesses.

Arts District

The Big Baltimore Playlist: December 2019

The top five local songs you should download right now.

Arts & Culture

Alpha Dog

A woman-owned printing business leads the way in Woodberry.


Arts District

Points South Drag Brunch Searches for New Home After Restaurant's Closure

The Fells Point bar has closed, but Brooklyn Heights assures patrons the show will go on.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: Harriet

The peerless Underground Railroad conductor gets the biopic she deserves.

MaxSpace

Movie Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers is exactly what we all need right now.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Kirby Lane Park Brings New Energy to West Baltimore Neighborhood: Formerly dilapidated site has become a hub for community engagement in Franklin Square.

Feds Charge Pugh With Fraud and Tax Evasion in ‘Healthy Holly’ Scandal: Former mayor faces 11 counts, including conspiracy, in alleged children’s book scheme.

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings Declares For Late Husband’s Seat: We break down the familiar faces in upcoming special Democratic primary.

John Waters is the Newest Male Face of Nike: Waters is one of three celebrities chosen to be in '90s-inspired Nordstrom x Nike campaign.

Four Key Updates on the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: Here’s what the BSO has been up to since performances resumed in September.