In a new report published on by Billboard on Tuesday, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang issued new statements regarding the status of his highly-publicized Woodstock 50 festival, set to take place on August 16th, 17th, and 18th at Watkins Glen International.
Since Lang’s confirmation of the 50th-anniversary festival in January, few details have emerged about the event. The lineup was initially scheduled to be released last month, and rumors have floated around in recent days about financial troubles facing the event. As the Billboard report notes, due to the fact the large-scale event is not being hosted by a major promoter, many of the artists approached to perform considered this a high-risk event and required full payment in advance. As of last Friday, representatives for several rumored artists reportedly told Billboard that they had not yet received payment.
However, as Billboard noted in their report, inside sources have confirmed that Woodstock’s team has now wired “several million dollars” to various agencies for their artists’ fees. In addition, the report notes that Bonnaroo producers Superfly have been brought on to handle logistics for the event, and have confirmed that they’ve now been paid in full.
“There’s always been lots of rumors around Woodstock,” Lang said in a statement to Billboard. “We have excellent partners and an incredible talent lineup of over 80 artists which will be announced within the next couple of weeks. We’re preparing a once in a lifetime event.”
As far as the specific artists set to play the festival, the Billboard report claims that “artists such as Dead & Company, Santana, The Killers, Imagine Dragons and Chance The Rapper will be performing at the festival.”
However, it’s likely wise to take this list with a grain of salt. Despite citing anonymous sources from unnamed performers’ camps in parts of the report, the portion naming the artists above was not attributed to a specific source. That list mirrors widespread lineup rumors that have made the rounds in the weeks since the festival’s confirmation, and likely bears some level of accuracy.
Regarding Dead & Company, John Mayer has an extensive solo tour set to run from the end of July through the beginning of September. However, there is a conspicuous gap in his schedule during the Woodstock weekend, so a Dead & Co appearance at the festival isn’t entirely out of the question.
Carlos Santana has already confirmed a performance that same weekend as part of the competing Live Nation-produced Woodstock 50th anniversary celebration at Bethel Woods on August 17th. He also has a performance scheduled on August 18th at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ. In addition, he had also previously confirmed a performance on Friday, August 16th at Darien Lake Amphitheater in Darien Center, NY—effectively blacking out any open dates during Woodstock 50—but that performance has since been canceled.
This creates a potential opening for Santana to play Lang’s event at Watkins Glen on August 16th, although radius clauses from the other two performances in the area that weekend would likely try to block that potential play. According to a January interview with Rolling Stone, “He had been hoping to work with original Woodstock promoter, Michael Lang, on the official Woodstock 50 but decided instead to take part in Live Nation’s tribute.”
Regardless of whether Billboard‘s reports regarding Woodstock 50 performers are true, we can likely expect an official announcement sooner rather than later. Following the eventual announcement of the lineup, the next big question to answer will be whether or not the bill can attract Lang’s projected 100,000 attendees to the event—a tough task for any event in today’s saturated festival market.
We’ll just have to wait and see.