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JAY-Z reportedly bails on Woodstock 50

Photo: Ethan Miller (Getty Images)

It feels like the wobbly dominos holding up Woodstock 50 have been toppling for a while now, but new reports forecasting the loss of headliners JAY-Z and John Fogerty could very well signal the beginning of the end for the troubled festival. AP quotes a source “familiar with the situation” who confirms that Hova has pulled out of the event, a circumstance that doesn’t bode well for its future, especially considering it’s set to unfold from August 16 to 18. One can easily imagine other confirmed acts like Chance The Rapper, Janelle Monáe, Imagine Dragons, and Miley Cyrus are on the phone with their management right about now.

Fogerty, meanwhile, has publicly announced his departure from the festival. With Creedence Clearwater Revival, he played the 1969 event, and he’s now saying he’ll be playing a smaller anniversary event that’s being held in the original Bethel, New York location. “John Fogerty knows where he will be for the anniversary weekend of Woodstock,” reads a statement shared by Variety. “At only one site… at the original one—the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.”

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It continues, “As (Fogerty) says in his song ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain,’ written upon returning from Woodstock—‘NO MORE CONFUSION ON THE GROUND.’”

Fogerty’s departure comes after Bloomberg reported that organizers would relocate the festival to Maryland’s Merriweather Post Pavilion after losing the right to gather at Watkins Glen International Speedway, reportedly due to permit issues. As Variety notes, the Woodstock 50 contractual language only held the artists to the booking if the festival played at Watkins Glen, so the risk for departure is low. Don’t be surprised if we update this article with a whole slew of other cancellations.

The Bethel event, meanwhile, seems to be coming together quite nicely. From August 16 to 18, Ringo Starr, Santana, the Doobie Brothers, and now Fogerty will play anniversary sets.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.