Published May 01, 2019Woodstock 50's future is going from bad to worse, as production partner Superfly — the entertainment company that co-producers such events as Bonnaroo and Outside Lands — has now pulled out of the event.
Superfly confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, saying the company would no longer be part of Woodstock 50. According to a source close to the situation, the loss of Superfly is "catastrophic."
"With Superfly leaving the fold, that's just the death knell," the source said. "Any festivalgoer knows now that Superfly doesn't have faith in it. I don't know how you recover from that. It's impossible."
The news comes after the Woodstock 50 anniversary festival was thrown into disarray earlier this week when its financial backer Dentsu Aegis Network pulled out of the event, announcing the festival had been cancelled. However, this soon led organizers to deny this claim, with Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang just yesterday (April 30) saying the festival would still happen.
Doubling down on that today, Lang also conducted an interview with the New York Times about the increasingly troubled Woodstock 50.
"We need to replace them financially," Lang said of the investors. "We are a few days away from permits; we are in talks with investors who are anxious to come in.... We have a short window to put this back together. That's obvious. We feel it's enough time, and there is enough interest, that we think we will accomplish it."
However, it's unclear if Lang conducted the interview before or after learning that Superfly had pulled out of the event.
Speaking of the loss of Superfly, the Rolling Stone source said Woodstock 50 would need a production company like giant AEG to save it if the event hopes to hold its 2019 fest.
"Maybe one of them wants some money," the source said. "I guess AEG or C3 could make it happen. But they would need a lot of assurance that it was a tenable situation. It just feels so unwieldy. It feels really sick. I'm not even sure Dr. Oz could revive this patient."
The source even compared this all to the disastrous Fyre Festival, saying, "What people neglect to discuss with Fyre Festival, because it's such a crazy story, is that it worked. Billy McFarland sold tickets. He got people on planes and buses and got them on site. Woodstock 50 can't even get that far."
Backers Dentsu Aegis Network said earlier this week that "despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don't believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees."
The company added that cancelling the festival "is the most prudent decision for all parties involved."
However, Lang then insisted Woodstock 50 would still take place, writing, "We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track. Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don't have a right to cancel it. Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will. We don't give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!"
Tickets for the festival — which has boasted artists such as the Killers, JAY-Z, Chance the Rapper, the Ranconteurs and Imagine Dragons in its lineup — have yet to go on sale. It has been set to take place at Watkins Glen, NY, from August 16 to 18.
This story was last updated on May 1 at 3:30 p.m. EDT.