Merriweather Post Pavilion Breathes Life Into Woodstock 50

Merriweather Post Pavilion
Merriweather Post Pavilion
– Merriweather Post Pavilion
Merriweather Post Pavilion may save the day for Woodstock 50.

Woodstock 50, left for dead in Vernon, N.Y., is apparently still on life support with an offer of Merriweather Post Pavilion to host the anniversary celebration in Columbia, Md., Aug. 16-18.

Merriweather Post Pavilion is some 270 miles from the original Watkins Glen International site and is much smaller – it’s believed to be able to accommodate up to 35,000 though its official capacity listed with Pollstar is 19,316.

Permits have been denied in New York by state and local officials at two previous locations but the permitting process at Merriweather could be aided by Howard County officials who reportedly “jumped at the chance” to save the beleaguered festival.

“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,” Calvin Ball, an executive with Howard County, wrote in a note to Woodstock 50 organizer Greg Peck and obtained by Bloomberg News, which first reported the sudden reversal of fortune.

“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,” Ball said.

Seth Hurwitz and I.M.P., which operate the county-owned venue, reportedly are on board with the idea.

Merriweather Post has hosted festivals including Virgin Free Festival, M3 Rock Festival and Sweet Life events and would provide a turnkey operation for Woodstock 50 to operate for a weekend, provided Howard County and Columbia, Md., officials expedite any permitting issues. But challenges remain – it’s not clear if the distance from the original site would invalidate contracts for artists including Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and many more.

In particular, confirmed artists John Fogerty and Santana have shows set for the same weekend at Bethel Woods Center For The Arts in Bethel, N.Y.

Pollstar will update this story as more information becomes available.