Still no lineup for impromptu Woodstock 50 at Merriweather, but tickets would be free if it happens

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Screenshot from Woodstock 50’s website

With two weeks and change left for Woodstock 50’s organizers to pull together a three-day music festival, Merriweather Post Pavilion operator I.M.P. says it has gotten no word about the lineup.

“We’re still waiting to hear who is playing, but that’s not our job,” chairman Seth Hurwitz, who also owns the 9:30 Club and The Anthem in Washington D.C., said in an emailed statement this morning. “They do still have a venue if they have a show.”

But if—a big if—it does happen, concertgoers would be covered no matter who they’re seeing.

A spokesperson for Woodstock 50 told D.C.-area radio station WTOP this weekend that the event would be ticketed, but organizers would make tens of thousands of one-day passes free and distribute them through HeadCount, artist foundations and “charitable partnerships in D.C. and Baltimore.”

Hurwitz said “the free ticket thing was the last thing we heard” from the organizers.

We’ve reached out to Sitrick, the communications firm doing PR for Woodstock 50, about lineup details. A staffer who answered the phone Monday said “we don’t have any updates as of now.”

On Friday, one day after word got out about a sudden move to Columbia after plans fell through in New York, organizers released all of the talent they had originally booked from their contracts. Jay-Z and John Fogerty were among the big-name acts who had already pulled out before the other contracts were dropped.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball was optimistic, but reticent to say it’s definitely happening.

“We’re still in talks and working out the details, but I can tell you we’re gonna go through the process, we’re gonna make sure that it is a benefit to Howard County on the cultural end, and it’s gonna be a benefit to the region and the world,” he said Thursday night.

Further complicating matters: One day of the 50th anniversary weekend for Woodstock, Aug. 16-18, is already booked at Merriweather, with Smashing Pumpkins, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and and AFI set to perform that Saturday. Some fans who already have tickets to that concert have been left wondering if it’s still on.

I.M.P. spokesperson Audrey Fix Schaefer said Monday morning that those folks need not fear, though she did not address whether that show would be merged with Woodstock 50. “The Pumpkins show is happening,” she assured.

In a related, if ironic turn of events, Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum announced today that it will send off a replica of local artist Bob Hieronimus’ original, psychedelically decorated bus that his band LIGHT took to Woodstock in 1969.

But rather than head out to Howard County for the Woodstock 50 event, the bus will show up at AVAM on Aug. 12 before making its way to Bethel, New York, for the music festival’s semicentennial celebration.

So far, Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center has booked Ringo Starr, Fogerty, Santana and the Doobie Brothers for that weekend.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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