UPDATE as of July 30, 2019: The Raconteurs and Joe McDonald have also pulled out of the event.
After months of speculation, confusion, and rumors, it seems that a ticket to this year’s Woodstock 50 might be free.
Last week, it was announced that Woodstock 50, the anniversary festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 event, would move from upstate New York to Maryland after organizers were denied a permit from the town of Vernon. The three-day festival is now supposed to take place at Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. However, in light of the news, hip-hop star Jay-Z and Woodstock veteran John Fogerty pulled out of the event.
Then, over the weekend, Billboard reported that all artists who were scheduled to play – including A-list stars like Halsey, The Killers, and Miley Cyrus, were released from their contracts. According to Billboard, representatives for the festival and organizer Michael Lang emailed talent agents with bands on the bill and told them that Woodstock 50 would not try to enforce performance contracts for the event. Instead, they are inviting artists to play at the festival, but aren’t requiring them to legally show up, since moving the event 350 miles south would be a breach of their performance contracts.
At this time, it’s unclear which artists will actually still perform at the event, and according to Woodstock 50’s website, there is no current lineup. Seth Hurwitz of I.M.P. told Billboard that he offered to help the event, and currently, organizers are trying to book new artists. He noted that Lang had called him about a week ago and now “I’m just a venue waiting to see if the promoter with the hold is going to confirm.”
Now, with no artists obligated to perform, the anniversary festival tickets might be free. TMZ reported over the weekend that sources said organizers will release tickets in the coming days free of charge. A limited number of tickets will reportedly be available for the show and instructions on how to get tickets will likely be posted by the end of the week. Additionally, sources told the publication that the event will now be billed as a “benefit concert,” and in order to make some type of profit, VIP tickets will still be sold at a cost to “bridge the gap between expenses and profit.”
Lang has denied that the festival would be cancelled for months, claiming that he would find a way to make the anniversary festival happen. While many were skeptical as the ticket on sale date was delayed, headliners backed out of the event, and the financial backer pulled out of the festival, Lang might be able to pull this off after all.
Woodstock 50 is slated to take place from August 16 to 18.