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Woodstock 50 (Finally) Throws In The Towel

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Michael Lang – who helped organize the original Woodstock in 1969 and was working on this year's 50th anniversary event – photographed announcing the Woodstock 50 lineup at Electric Lady Studio on March 19, 2019 in New York.
Kevin Mazur, Getty Images for Woodstock 50

Michael Lang – who helped organize the original Woodstock in 1969 and was working on this year's 50th anniversary event – photographed announcing the Woodstock 50 lineup at Electric Lady Studio on March 19, 2019 in New York.

Putting a definitive end to what had turned into a months-long saga, the producers of the Woodstock 50 festival announced on Wednesday afternoon that the three-day event that was supposed to take place in less than three weeks, on Aug. 16-18, has been canceled.

"We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating," the lead producer, Michael Lang, said in a statement sent to NPR.

However, many of those setbacks had been clear for months. Organizers originally said that tickets would go on sale in January — more than half a year ago — but they did not. In April, several media outlets reported that the festival's producers were still struggling with sanitation and audience capacity issues, and the promoters became entangled in very public financial battles with their former investors. Even as recently as last Friday, it was completely unclear where the festival — originally announced for Watkins Glen in upstate New York — would even take place. The most recent contender was the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., almost three hundred miles from the original 1969 site.

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Lang also said on Wednesday that all of the artists who had been booked for Woodstock 50 — ranging from Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper to Carlos Santana and John Fogerty — have already been paid, and he encouraged the musicians to tithe their Woodstock fees to a voter registration organization called HeadCount, "or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
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