Update at 4:30 p.m. PST: Woodstock 50 released the following statement in reaction to losing their site, having their permit application rescinded and seeing their producer cancel their involvement: “We confirm that we will not be moving forward with Watkins Glen as a venue for Woodstock 50. We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th—18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.”
Less than an hour after Watkins Glen International speedway announced it was no longer hosting Woodstock 50 on Monday (June 10), in separate announcements the event’s producer CID Entertainment issued a statement saying it was ending its involvement with the anniversary festival and the New York State Department of Health gave word its permit application was being rescinded.
“CID Entertainment had been engaged to provide enhanced camping, travel packages and transportation for Woodstock 50. Given developments, we can confirm that CID is no longer involved in Woodstock 50 in any capacity,” CID Entertainment’s Dan Berkowitz told Billboard in a statement.
CID Entertainment was supposed to replace Rick Farman‘s Superfly, which had agreed to produce the festival for a $3 million fee, only to withdraw its involvement in the festival days after financier Dentsu announced it was cancelling the event on April 29. A New York judge later ruled that Dentsu technically didn’t have the right to cancel the event, but cited correspondence between Superfly’s attorneys and Woodstock 50’s Michael Lang, who co-produced the original Woodstock festival in 1969, as evidence that organizers were unlikely to pull of the event.
After Superfly pulled out, Lang floated CID Entertainment as a replacement, although it’s unclear how much work CID had undertaken preparing for the festival. Owned by OnLocation, CID had originally been brought on to handle VIP offerings for the festival that had been envisioned to host as many as 150,000 to 200,000 fans, although safety and site concerns reduced the capacity to less than 75,000.
On Monday, race track officials left the festival without a home, issuing a statement explaining, “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract…. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”
Two hours later, an official with the New York State Department of Health told Billboard, “the Department has received a statement from Watkins Glen International that they intend to rescind their application for a mass gathering permit for Woodstock 50.”
Tim O’Hearn, administrator for Schulyer County which was to host the festival, told Billboard in a statement that the news was “a major disappointment to us in that we looked forward to hosting this iconic event in our community.”
“While today’s announcement is difficult to absorb, it is not completely unexpected, given the well-publicized delays related to this planned event,” he added. “We commend Watkins Glen International for their actions, which we feel are in the overall best interest of the community.”
Announced with much fanfare and a lineup that included Dead and Company, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus and The Killers, Woodstock 50 officials neither put tickets on sale for the Aug. 16-18 event nor secured a mass gathering permit from the New York Department of Health. Dentu’s decision to pull out of the festival left Lang and his partner Greg Peck without funding needed to stage the concert and last month two New York Supreme Court judges rejected a request by the festival’s attorney Marc Kasowitz to force Dentsu to return $18.5 million of its own money it had withdrawn from the Woodstock 50 bank account after the Japanese company announced it was cancelling the festival.
Woodstock 50 officials did not respond to a request for comment by time of publishing.