Woodstock 50 music festival is officially cancelled

The event was due to be headlined by The Killers and Jay-Z

FILE - This Aug. 14, 2009 file photo shows a van decorated with "Woodstock or Bust" at the original Woodstock Festival site in Bethel, N.Y.   Woodstock 50 is officially cancelled. Organizers announced Wednesday, July 31, 2019 that the troubled festival that hit a series of setbacks in the last four months won’t take place next month. The three-day festival was originally scheduled for Aug. 16-18, but holdups included permit denials and the loss of a financial partner and a production company.(AP Photo/Stephen Chernin, File)
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Woodstock 50 has been cancelled weeks before it was due to take place.

The three-day music festival, which was meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 event, was scheduled for August 16 to 18. The line-up for Woodstock 50, announced in March, featured The Killers, Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus but tickets never went on sale.

Co-founder of Woodstock 50, Michael Lang, who was also involved in the original festival, said: "We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating."

Woodstock 50 has been plagued for months by permit denials, as well as the loss of a financial partner and a production company. The festival was due to take place at the Watkins Glen motor racing venue in upstate New York, but this fell through in June, as did efforts to find a venue in Vernon, New York.

Last week, organisers announced plans for a much smaller, free festival at the Merriweather Post Pavilion, Maryland, but a number of acts, including Jay-Z, Dead & Company and John Fogerty, pulled out.

"We released all the talent, so any involvement on their part would be voluntary," said Lang. "I would like to encourage artists and agents, who have all been fully paid, to donate 10 per cent of their fees to HeadCount [a non-profit organisation promoting voter registration] or causes of their choice in the spirit of peace."

Greg Peck, principal of Woodstock 50, added: "The timing meant we had few choices where our artists would be able to perform. We worked hard to find a way to produce a proper tribute – and some great artists came aboard over the last week to support Woodstock 50 – but time simply ran short."

The 1969 Woodstock was staged on 600-acre dairy farm near White Lake in Bethel, New York. It featured performances by The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.