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39 Days Until Woodstock 50. How are things going?

Written by on July 10, 2019

This has been a rough summer for music festivals, especially in Canada. The abrupt cancellation of the Roxodus Festival north of Toronto. The cancellation of the Hair in the Fair festival in Welland, Ontario. No Field Trip this year in Toronto. Victoria’s Rifflandia isn’t happening. And Skookum in Vancouver is taking the year off…


… And now, Woodstock 50

Then we have the drama surrounding Woodstock 50, which is supposed to start in 39 days.


  • After failing to secure an agreement/get permits/pay a deposit to Watkins Glen International racetrack, organizer Michael Lang tried to move everything over to another racetrack, Vernon Downs, one with one-third the capacity (50,000) of what he originally wanted. For that, the event has been scaled down from 150,000 to a venue that can hold 50,000 at best
  • Organizers admit there are “logistical hurdles” with the venue that need to be overcome.
  • Finances are shaky.
  • Tickets haven’t gone on sale yet.
  • The 80-ish artists contracted to perform have no idea what’s going on.
  • And did I mention the festival is scheduled to open its gates in 40 days?
  • Everyone on the bill is confused about whether the festival will actually happen.


The permit required to the most recent proposed site – Vernon Downs, in the town of Vernon near Utica in Upstate New York, has been denied, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. tells Variety. The application was filed well after the standard 120-day deadline, a source says.

The promoters have appealed or will appeal the decision, according to a statement sent to Variety Tuesday night. However, Picente says, “what they have submitted to date has not met many of the requirements” to stage the festival and the chances of it taking place in Oneida Country seem “highly unlikely.

“It’s been chaotic,” he said of the past few weeks’ scramble to stage the festival at Vernon Downs, which has no camping facilities, after the previous proposed venue, Watkins Glen International speedway, pulled out last month. “Originally it was going to be a three-day festival, but then [the producers] said instead it would be three one-day events, with all 65,000 or however many people vacating the grounds at the end of each day.”


Is this another festival that will not happen? 



Source: A Journal of Musical Things