It turns out paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock isn’t as easy as it seemed.
The major Woodstock 50 Festival — originally set for Watkins Glen, New York, with headliners that included Jay-Z, Dead and Company, Miley Cyrus, The Killers and Chance the Rapper — was finally canceled late last month after it could not obtain the proper permits from Watkins Glen, near the original site, or Vernon, near Syracuse. The last-ditch effort to produce a free concert at Merriweather Pavilion in Maryland on anniversary weekend has also been canceled.
“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,” Woodstock co-founder and Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang said in a statement.
Lang encouraged people to celebrate the anniversary at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which will host a string of concerts at the site where Woodstock originated.
On Aug. 15, Arlo Guthrie will perform before an outdoor screening of “Woodstock: The Director’s Cut,” the documentary about the festival. Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band will perform on Aug. 16, followed by Santana and the Doobie Brothers on Aug. 17, and John Fogerty with Tedeschi Trucks Band and Grace Potter on Aug. 18.
Fogerty is also set to play at Radio City Music Hall on Aug. 15, where he plans to celebrate the anniversary by playing songs his band Creedence Clearwater Revival played at the original Woodstock festival, as well as songs from throughout his career. Jorma Kaukonen, who played guitar with Jefferson Airplane at the original Woodstock, will be playing NYCB Theatre at Westbury with his band Hot Tuna on Aug. 17, but he will be more focused on celebrating Hot Tuna’s 50th anniversary more than his performance at Woodstock.
Michael “Eppy” Epstein says he hasn’t planned any Woodstock celebrations at his My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel for the anniversary because it wouldn’t be a proper tribute to the event.
“It would be just about making money,” Epstein said. “Nothing about that excites me. I’d rather book some of those acts on their own night when they’re touring so people, young and old, can come see them.”
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