The end result of the Woodstock 50 roller coaster.
Following the developments and unravellings of Woodstock 50 has been quite a doozy. It was initially announced, back in December, that there would be a three-day festival hosted on the grounds of the legendary festival in honor of its 50th anniversary. While the original festival was birthed out of the anarchic spirit of rock n roll, the anniversary show intended up providing as varied of a lineup as a modern day festival tends to have, including hip hop acts like: Jay Z, Chance the Rapper, Vince Staples and Earl Sweatshirt.
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Woodstock 50 seemed suspicious from the get-go, as the original site had already been rented out for that weekend, forcing the festival to be located at Watkins Glen International speedway. The festival was then being advertised as an 100,000-person event, when production company, Superfly, was insisting that the land’s maximum capacity was around 61,000. Ticket sales were then delayed as artists began to drop out and many still awaited payment. Investors began pulling money as the festival struggled to obtain the necessary permits. After a series of legal disputes, the event was cancelled.
On July 26, Woodstock 50 attempted to cling to its last strand of hope by relocating the festival to Maryland as a free event, but with the artists released from their contracts, most of them pulled out. The festival was officially cancelled, again, a few days later.
However, a few performances are still set to take place in the iconic park this weekend. Ringo Starr will kick off the festivities at the Bethel Woods outdoor amphitheatre on Thursday, Santana will be on Friday and John Fogerty is performing Saturday. Despite the potential for these names to attract massive crowds of hippies, their numbers will be limited by the need to purchase travel passes to get into the park.
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All the red tape now surrounding the grounds of Woodstock seems to be what led to the 50th anniversary festival’s dissolution. With traffic and civility of primary concern today, the park will look nothing like it did in 1969 this weekend.