Even without a venue and being forced to seek alternative financiers, Woodstock 50 went great lengths to try to hold onto their promise to hold the event... before backing out of plans altogether just several weeks before it was supposed to commence. In early July, they sought Vernon Downs (a significantly smaller Upstate New York casino, hotel, and race track with no camping facilities) as their next best option to host, until their permit was denied because it failed to meet a 120-day-out deadline and lacked "many of the requirements," according to Variety. The Oneida County Head of Emergency Services Kevin Revere went so far to call the festival a "recipe for disaster," which prompted Woodstock 50 to claim that it was not their last minute planning at fault, but rather "certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the Festival," as if there were conspiracies at play and not the fact that their permit was incomplete.
In order for the event to have been approved, organizers were going to have to come up with more thorough emergency relief and increased traffic plans -- but basically because there were too many roadblocks in such a short period of time, the Associated Press reported that Woodstock 50 had to officially put a cap on their dreams of relieving the summer of '69. On July 31, any and all plans to see the festival through were announced as squashed, and Lang said in a statement, "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."
While they briefly arrived at the last-minute decision to throw a free benefit concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland, even that plan was a long shot, considering most artists were beholden to various radius clauses preventing them from performing in the area. Had they not canceled, with zero artists potentially showing, they could've unintentionally gone down in history as the Fyre Fest of Upstate New York.
But… if you are so inclined to still hitch a ride or pile in the back of your VW van because you're dying for some sort of anniversary event, there will be a concert featuring Ringo Starr and others held at the original site, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. That show is in no way associated with Woodstock 50, so (probably) don't worry about any shoddy logistics. Lang said, "We thank the artists, fans and partners who stood by us even in the face of adversity. My thoughts turn to Bethel and its celebration of our 50th Anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity, and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock." Peace and love, baby!
This story has been updated throughout.