Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang, who spearheaded the Woodstock 50 project, admitted in a postmortem interview that he and the other organizers made a crucial error last fall that ultimately doomed the festival this summer.
While another original Woodstock performer, John Fogerty, was resigned to wait it out with Woodstock 50 despite the "shakiness," Crosby says he actually bailed on the festival weeks before it was canceled.
"You can't 'magic' one of these into happening, and that's what they tried to do with this," Crosby told Rolling Stone in an interview regarding the doomed endeavor. "It had nothing to do with anybody feeling good about each other. It had to do with certain people making a huge amount of money. That's a grubby way to start in the first place. It's not a motivation that brings out the very best in people."
At some point this spring, it became clear to Crosby that Woodstock 50 didn't have that much in common ideologically with the original festival. He says he waited to back out for as long as possible.
"I don't want to do s----y business," he added. "I could have walked right from the start, legally. [After] the first three iterations of it, it got really silly."
Another original Woodstock performer, Country Joe McDonald, agreed with Crosby's assertion about the attitude behind the '69 Woodstock being taken for granted after 50 years.
McDonald agreed to come out of retirement to play Woodstock 50. He noted that Lang and his co-creators "got lucky in 1969. The event made itself." McDonald noted how the unique cultural factors and unified movement against the Vietnam War in '69 allowed the first Woodstock to draw so many people, and then proceed without any violence among the massive audience.
Rumors of turmoil behind the Woodstock 50 scenes began leaking out this past winter. The ticket onsale was inexplicably delayed before Woodstock 50's biggest financial backer withdrew.
After several efforts to rescale and save the festival, Woodstock 50 was denied permits for its venue this spring in Watkins Glen, NY. Promoters went searching for a new location in Vernon, NY, that didn't pan out and then settled on one in Maryland before finally canceling.
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