Since August 15th, 1969, generations after have attempted to recreate Woodstock. This year, in 2019, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang wanted to celebrate the 50th year of the festival. He began weeding himself through bureaucracy to celebrate a moment of musical history.
After six months, Lang and organizers found themselves without a permit or venue. Eventually, musicians started bailing and Lang decided to cancel the anniversary event.
“It’s not been surprising that we weren’t able to pull this off,” Lang said in a phone interview with the Associated Press.
Tons of artists agreed to play Woodstock50, attracting a diverse crowd to the celebration. A projected 65,000 people were expected to attend, according to AP. Rural cities in New York and Maryland were hesitant to issue permits because of the crowd.
The lineup for the 50th-anniversary was eclectic. Artists who performed the very first Woodstock, such as Santana, were scheduled to perform. Classic Rock was on the list, and so was pop sensations like Miley Cyrus.
— WOODSTOCK (@woodstockfest) March 19, 2019
He’s not throwing in the towel without some regrets. Lang wishes he would’ve started applying for permits sooner and made better financial decisions.
“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks have made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,” Lang said in a statement.
Artist Melanie, who performed at the original Woodstock, thought otherwise.
She told AP Woodstock50 “lacked heart,” and Lang “didn’t get the support because of that, really and truly.”
Despite a failed ending to Woodstock50, the festival remains the most iconic in history.
“Woodstock’s a living thing and you can’t package a living thing,” Melanie noted.