Woodstock 50 Rescued, New Location Named
After months of legal troubles and uncertainty, the Woodstock 50 anniversary festival has found a home. The concert event, originally planned for upstate New York, will now be held in Maryland.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the festival will take place Aug. 16 through Aug. 18 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. The outdoor amphitheater in Columbia, Md., is estimated to accommodate about 32,000 people, a far cry from the initial attendance numbers festival organizers had suggested.
“When we heard that there was an opportunity to save this festival and bring a piece of American history to our community this summer, we jumped at the chance,” Calvin Ball, an executive with Howard County, asserted in a note to one of the organizers. “Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia is a jewel of Howard County and one of the top music venues in the nation. It felt like such a natural fit to host a historic festival on our storied stage.”
Securing a venue finally brings Woodstock 50 some good news after months of logistical nightmares. The festival producers previously had their financial backer withdraw, location permits denied and been dealt a blow in court.
While the festival’s outlook in certainly rosier with a new home, challenges still remain. The event’s lineup -- which initially included such vaunted acts as Robert Plant, Dead and Company, Jay Z, the Killers, Santana, Imagine Dragons and Greta Van Fleet -- may change, especially since artists are no longer contractually obligated to perform. Considering the new venue is 250 miles away from the original site, it’s possible that touring conflicts may preclude some bands from appearing. Organizers say they are holding conversations with artists and their representatives, but declined to give further details.
The festival’s location isn’t the only thing that is changing. Bloomberg also reports that Woodstock 50 is now being pitched as a fundraiser, with a portion of proceeds benefiting nonprofit organizations devoted to voter turnout and climate change. The fest is also taking on a new moniker, going by “Woodstock 50 Washington” in honor of its new home's proximity to the nation's capital.
Organizers aim to charge $129 to $595 for one-day passes to the event, though ticket on-sale info is yet to be officially announced.
The frantic, last-minute nature of Woodstock 50 is reminiscent of the struggles faced by the original event. The 1969 Woodstock festival was ousted from its planned location only a few weeks before it was to take place. Festival co-founder Michael Lang would quickly make a last-minute deal to hold Woodstock on farmland in Bethel, N.Y. The now-legendary event included performances by the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, the Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who and Jimi Hendrix. Lang is also a key organizer of the Woodstock 50 festival.