Troubled Woodstock 50 festival will need a new location

The Watkins Glen International Speedway hosted the largest festival of all time, 1973’s Summer Jam, which had 600,000 attendees. Surely if today’s requirements for site preparation were in force at the time that wouldn’t have been possible. (Image source: Google maps)

The Woodstock 50 Festival will not be held at the Watkins Glen International racetrack, according to a statement issued by the venue this afternoon. The announcement leaves festival promoters just over two months to find an alternate location before the planned Aug. 16-18 event, which marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 festival and is being organized by original promoter Michael Lang.

The festival has yet to receive necessary permits to proceed and tickets have not yet gone on sale.


The statement from the venue reads: “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.”

The first sign that festival plans were not proceeding smoothly was the late April announcement of its cancellation by partner Dentsu Aegis Network, whose representatives cited capacity, site readiness and permitting issues. Promoter Michael Lang immediately denied the cancellation and Dentsu Aegis’s right to make such an announcement, and the matter has been in court ever since. At the time, Lang downplayed the disagreement, saying it recalled the chaotic run-up to the original festival, but promised that the event would happen.

On May 23, we reported that the festival has secured a new financial backer and might be getting back a substantial chunk of change from Dentsu Aegis.

Headliners for the festival include The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Jay-Z, Dead & Company. Here’s the full lineup.

We’ll have more info on what the loss of the site means for the festival in a coming update. Stay tuned.

There are 6 comments

  1. Sha Na Na

    The four elements of Capitalism are: capital, land, promotion and labor. The first festival had all three except the land. This proposed festival has the same problem: no land for a festival site.
    The promotors act like it’s been 50 years since the last festival and still haven’t figured out how the original gathering was able to get off the ground.

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