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Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival in Jeopardy as Investor Pulls Out; Organizers Say Show Still On

Woodstock 50's co-founder and Woodstock LLC said they were "committed to ensuring that the 50th anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture"

What to Know

  • The funder of the highly anticipated Woodstock 50 festival in New York this summer said Monday it was pulling out of the concert
  • The organizers, however, said the show would go on; it wasn't immediately clear what prompted the conflicting statements
  • Jay-Z, Dead & Company and the Killers had been slated to headline the festival in Watkins Glen, about 115 miles NW of the original site

A financial investor in the highly-anticipated three-day Woodstock 50 festival said it had "decided to cancel" the event — but the organizers say the event will go on. 

Billboard initially broke the news Monday that Dentsu Aegie Network's Amplifi Live was pulling funding for the festival, though the company didn't offer specifics on the circumstances that prompted its decision. 

In a statement released late Monday, however, Woodstock 50 co-founder Michael Lang and Woodstock LLC said that they were "committed to ensuring that the 50th anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture."

They said that would continue despite Amplifi Live's earlier announcement that it was dropping out of the event, scheduled for Aug 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York.

The anniversary event has had some bumps in the road. Tickets were originally supposed to go on sale last week, but that was put on hold. And some of the performers leaked to the press ahead of its announcement.

But the biggest obstacle came on Monday when its major investor pulled out.

"Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, 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," Dentsu Aegis Network's Amplifi Live said in a statement.

That led many to assume that the event would be canceled. Jay-Z, Dead & Company and the Killers were announced as headliners at the concert series, to take place about 115 miles northwest of the original site. The event is separate from an anniversary concert planned at the site of the original festival in 1969.

More than 80 artists, including John Fogerty, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, the Black Keys, Chance the Rapper and Janelle Monae, are expected to perform on three main stages at Watkins Glen International racetrack in the Finger Lakes for Woodstock 50.

The original concert was held on a farm in Bethel, New York, that is now run as an attraction by The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. The venue has its own anniversary event Aug. 16-18 with performances by Ringo Starr, Fogerty and Santana.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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