The much-publicised Woodstock 50 festival will relocate from upstate New York to Columbia, Maryland in a last-ditch effort to save the beleaguered event, according to reports in Bloomberg. Organizers confirmed to the New York Times that the festival will now take place at Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is about an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. — and about four-and-a-half hours from the original Woodstock site in Bethel, New York — from 16 through to 18 August.
In documents obtained by Bloomberg, Calvin Ball, an executive with Howard County, Maryland, wrote to Greg Peck, one of the Woodstock organizers: “When we heard that there was an opportunity to save this festival and bring a piece of American history to our community this summer, we jumped at the chance. Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia is a jewel of Howard County and one of the top music venues in the nation. It felt like such a natural fit to host a historic festival on our storied stage.”
“Woodstock 50 approached Merriweather about hosting their event here in Columbia, Md.,” said Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P. and owner of the 9:30 Club and The Anthem and operator of Merriweather Post Pavilion. “The Woodstock folks are working on securing the artists now. If the bands come, we’ll produce the show. We’re looking forward to getting an update as soon as Woodstock 50 has one.”
What remains unclear, though, is who will actually perform at the relocated festival. The line-up initially featured a mix of original Woodstock vets like Santana, Dead & Co. and Canned Heat, and contemporary stars like Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus and The Killers. Organizers are reportedly in conversation with artists and their representatives, though none are contractually obligated to perform at the show in Maryland.
The documents also note that the festival would be renamed “Woodstock 50 Washington” and that it would primarily serve as a fundraiser for non-profits dedicated to climate change and voter turnout. Some of the proceeds from ticket sales — which could range from $129 to $595 for various passes — would be donated to organizations like HeadCount. According to Bloomberg, organizers reportedly also circulated a marketing plan that included a mass e-mail campaign, billboards in Washington, Maryland and Virginia and full-page ads in local newspapers.