I spent the weekend outside Bethel, home of the original Woodstock, at Silent G Farms, which got me thinking about how wild the unraveling of Woodstock 50 is.
The Woodstock 50 announcement came out of nowhere. It was a great headline that got immediate traction. It cut through the noise and became one of the most talked about festivals of the summer. It appeared to have it all: a power-packed lineup, rumors of epic experiences, and the all-important nostalgia factor.
It has been reported that Michael Lang, one of the original producers of Woodstock in 1969, spent over $32 million on talent for this show. He wanted it to feel both classic and modern. But upon closer inspection, the red flags were there along the way. The New York Times breaks it down well.
It’s dreamers like Lang who keep artists, fans, and consumers enthralled. But in the words of Radiohead, who performed at the infamous Woodstock ‘99, “ambition makes you look pretty ugly.” The first three Woodstocks were not profitable yet he reached for a fourth.
Woodstock 50 is also the story of a former player returning to a changed game. Since the Woodstock debacle in 1999 — which ended with riots and reports of sexual assault — festivals have become an intensely competitive market with little room for error or miscalculation. Agents aren’t going to take a risk in this day and age, even for a name brand like Woodstock. They only care about their artists being overpaid, or at least paid in full.
If the cancellation has dashed your hopes of a music-themed upstate trip, the aforementioned Silent G Farms is well worth consideration. It’s a magical abode fully equipped with a music studio, yoga studio, stage, lights, sauna, spring water pond, hot tub, and more. It accommodates 15+ people and is still available Labor Day Weekend on Airbnb. Click for fresh air and peace of mind!