LOS ANGELES — Spinning wheel got to go ’round ... That’s what insiders are saying about the latest attempt to have the Woodstock 50 show go on.
TMZ on Sunday reported that the beleaguered festival is now pivoting to a free concert — just like in 1969! That’s when the New York State Thruway was essentially shut down and the gates to the concert toppled as 500,000 descended on the grounds of Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, N.Y., and organizers gave up trying to collect tickets.
This time, the “free” moniker seems loosely tied to the concept of a benefit concert, though it’s unclear which charities may partner with the festival or whether attendees would simply be “encouraged to donate,” as TMZ reports.
A rep for Woodstock 50 declined to comment on the accuracy of the report.
How would a benefit concert work now that two of the three headliners — Jay-Z and Dead & Company — have bowed out? That leaves Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Chance the Rapper as possible understudies.
Just 24 hours before the free concert reveal, agents, managers and attorneys were considering pulling their artist’s out simultaneously, so as to partly show potential litigators that this three-day event had no chance of coming together. On Friday night, some Woodstock stakeholders received a note that organizers “had a new plan.”
This weekend, artists and their representatives reevaluated the proposed rebrand. Skeptically, one could also deduce that Woodstock organizers are trying to minimize their legal liability, anticipating an onslaught of lawsuit to come. Of course, that brings to question the original breach of contract for an upstate New York event, which has already been acknowledged by the festival, effectively allowing artists to be released from their contractual obligations to play Woodstock 50.
Several acts are booked to play in Bethel Woods, the upstate New York site of the original festival, that same weekend for an alternate Woodstock celebration that Live Nation is producing, including Santana and John Fogerty, who was first to abandon the Maryland plan.