Something very strange happened. Major magazine outlets such as Billboard began to announce the cancellation of the much-anticipated Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. In an incredibly shady vague announcement, Dentsu Aegis Network, the festival’s investor, stated:
“It’s a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements…But despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worth of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.”
The statement goes on to state that as a result, Dentsu decided to cancel the festival as “[they] believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.” Music news promptly exploded.
Wait, it gets weirder. Moments later, Michael Lang, Woodstock’s founder, rebutted Dentsu’s statement and claimed they were merely “rumors.” Apparently, the only hubbub surrounding the event is a hold on when tickets would be available. Aside from that, everything’s all peachy keen. As one unnamed agent involved with the festival aptly put, “No one knows what the hell is going on, but there’s clearly a problem.”
That feeling of deja vu you’re having? No, it’s not some sort of cryptomnesia (although, honestly, who knows?). It may be because this situation is hauntingly familiar; one that’s similar to yet another festival-turned-disaster-turned-two-documentaries that spewed forth thousands of online commentary and treasured memes.
Yup. Fyre Festival.
If you were lucky enough not to be completely inundated with inflated news stories and social posts, here’s a bit of a summary: douchebag incompetent Billy McFarland, who was not charming and also not smart, scammed a bunch of other shallow attention-seekers into paying thousands of dollars for a luxury festival that never existed. There were plenty of signs and warnings for them not to proceed, but they did–right up until all the concert goers actually came and saw what was happening for themselves.
It seems that now, with what Dentsu announced, they’re seeking to avoid the same thing, something which actual responsible business-minded people do. It’s also not entirely that shocking: Woodstock is a festival notorious for proper planning (as well as having unprotected sex and drug use in disgusting, open fields). According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, Woodstock ‘99 saw police intervention after crowds got far too rowdy (and molest-y) while plans for Woodstock 40 misfired after Lang and crew couldn’t find any investors.
So what’s the deal with Woodstock 50? It’s not like it’s lacking high-powered acts (Jay-Z being just one of them). The only thing that would make sense (as gleaned from Dentsu’s announcement) is that planning was too based on starpower and not based on any actual, you know, planning. It’s very McFarland-esque: Make sure the image looks good, but screw the substance!
Whichever the case, it’ll be interesting to see how these events unfold (especially ticket sales are still delayed). With any luck, Netflix will be releasing a juicy, incriminating documentary on it within the year.
Author: Claudia Dimuro