Since August 15th 1969, live music was changed forever. People congregated in unprecedented numbers to celebrate love, harmony, anti-war ideals and the greatest music of the time.
Half a century from that fateful day we witness the death of the festival itself the gradual decline of both music, listening and ideals.
Woodstock 50 has been cancelled marking the death of the most famous festival of all time. Here’s how it all went down since 1969.
When Woodstock ’99 occurred it was unceremoniously dubbed ‘The Day the Music Died’. From widespread sexual assault, fires, overcrowding, lack of water, and a truck randomly driving into the crowd this was a stark contrast to the idealised 1969 event. However, two decades later the festival has quite literally died in an event symbolic of moral corrosion and the ever changing world of music.
When Woodstock 50 was announced, music fans rejoiced. The event boasted 60 performers spread across three stages, all functioning as little neighbourhoods with their own vibe.
Among the musicians booked for the event are names such as, Jay Z, Chance the Rapper, Robert Plant, The Black Keys, The Raconteurs and Courtney Barnett. Also on the bill were Dead and Company, John Fogerty, Santana, John Sebastien, Country Joe-Mcdonald, Canned Heat and Hot Tuna, who all performed at the historic 1969 festival.
Then there was a collection of hurdles faced by the organisation including postponed ticket sales and court trials with investors. This ultimately led to their initial site license being terminated, and less than an hour after the statement released by the venue, the Woodstock 50 festival producer CID announced that they too would be pulling out of the festival.
Since the initial blows were dealt it was essentially a domino effect. Artists started pulling out despite the persistence of the event organiser, Michael Lang, that the festival would go ahead. Despite early warning signs and a dire lack of funding, Lang somewhat dishonestly, stressed that the event would go ahead. Despite all odds, people believed him.
Hope was restored when they had reportedly found a new venue at Vernon Downs, roughly 56 kilometers away from the OG festival site. However, hope was short-lived. The venue was cancelled and not long later, just weeks before the festival was set to go ahead, it was announced that The Racontuers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Dead and Company and John Fogerty pulled out among many others.
According to sources involved with the festival it was announced that free GA tickets were to be released, and VIP tickets will be sold at a lower price in an effort to cover the costs of the festival. A new site was announced 450km away.
Then the festival was cancelled on Wednesday just two weeks before it was set to go ahead.
Organiser Michael Lang stated: “We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great lineup we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating.”
Thus, almost exactly 50 years since the original event, Woodstock has been cancelled. Will we ever see it rise again from the ashes. Who knows?
But one thing is clear, this a defining moment in the slow decline of ideals that were gloriously birthed in 1969. The hippies are dead, and with them, Woodstock.