You would have thought by now that we all learned our lesson from Fyre Festival – but apparently that isn’t the case for the gang over at the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock. Amid a plague of obvious danger signs, the fest shows no sign of stopping. Originally scheduled to take place at Watkins Glen on
For the organizers of Woodstock‘s 50th anniversary, things were (kind of) looking up since the “official” cancellation announcement in April 2019. After the arrival of another last-minute investor, the event seemed to be somewhat salvageable. However, the iconic festival brand has just hit another roadblock, ultimately unable to secure venue permits for the use of Watkins Glen International (WGI). Thus, Woodstock lost its temporary home almost two months prior to the planned start date.
To recap, there’s been a lot of back and forth between former entities associated with the festival’s roll out and the festival organizers themselves, mainly co-founder Michael Lang. There were no ticket sales on the event’s intended sale date and, one week later, Dentsu Aegis—the festival’s primary investor—pulled out, taking their money with them. Lang continued maintaining a positive outlook, and after a hard-fought lawsuit, a New York Court Judge gave him a break, allowing he and the organizers to seek funding elsewhere.
So, elsewhere they looked, finding a glimmer of hope with investment bank and financial services company Oppenheimer & Co. Yet, it seems the underlying issues persisted and Woodstock has now lost its venue.
According to Rolling Stone, a rep for the speedway said “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract.” The publication also spoke to a rep for the New York State Police, who stated that the organizers hadn’t met the concerns of a particular trooper.
There is still no word on how Lang’s team will proceed, however, Woodstock 50 was originally supposed to commence on August 16 with a number of key headliners. Stay tuned for updates.
H/T: Rolling Stone
The fate of Woodstock 50 is now slightly clearer, albeit bleaker, as the New York Supreme Court recently ruled that the anniversary mega-fest may continue, but that Dentsu—the Japanese conglomerate that invested $18 million in the event—is not required to return their investment.
Woodstock 50 has been in limbo since Dentsu rescinded their investment last month; even going so far as to announce the event’s cancellation, though Michael Lang, the festival’s co-founder and one of the lead organizers for Woodstock 50, has been vocally committed to seeing the festival through.
The decision by New York Supreme Court judge, Barry Ostrager, pertained to the rights of Dentsu and their subsidiary Amplfi regarding whether they were contractually permitted to cancel Woodstock 50 of their own accord after ending their relationship with the event. In this regard, the judge ruled in favor of Lang in that the festival can continue, but according to Ostrager’s ruling the attorney for Woodstock 50, Marc Kasowitz, was unable to meet “the high burden entitling it to a mandatory injunction forcing Amplifi to provide W50 with access to the $17.8 million W50 is not contractually entitled to control under (its contract between Dentsu/Amplifi and Woodstock 50).”
Now, the festival is essentially bankrupt. Lang and the rest of Woodstock 50 team will be forced to find new sources of income if the event is to proceed as planned for it’s announced dates of August 16–18 in Watkins Glen, New York.
Also in his decision, Ostrager noted a number of issues with the festival, contending, “multiple permits necessary to conduct the festival were not in place, tickets had not yet been sold, no budget had been agreed upon, necessary and expensive structural improvements to the festival site and related areas had not yet started, and the production company essential to produce the festival [Superfly] had withdrawn.”
There are also reports that Lang misrepresented the capacity of the festival to Dentsu, claiming an attendance cap of over 150,000 people while Superfly—the production company responsible for producing the festival at the time—gave a figure closer to one third of that total, rounding out near 65,000.
This was just one of the conflicting accounts that created tension between Dentsu, Lang, and Superfly. In emails included in the case, Lang claimed the opposing capacity figures were a deliberate attempt to sabotage the festival into losing millions of dollars. In further emails, Dentsu Chief Operating Officer DJ Martin suggested approaching another production company, CID Entertainment, to gain “leverage” over Superfly.
With the growing contention looming, Superfly severed ties with Woodstock 50 once Dentsu had announced they would terminate their investment, leaving the event without a production company. Lang reportedly reached out to entertainment giants AEG and Live Nation for a $20 million investment, but those negotiations failed.
Despite a situation that is eerily reminiscent of the notorious blunder that was Fyre Festival, Lang maintained this decision in court a win and gave a hopeful statement in response, “We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place,” he said. “I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”
The build up to Woodstock’s 50th-anniversary, commemorative festival has been a tumultuous one to say the least. But original Woodstock co-founder, Michael Lang, maintains the festival will go on as planned, sans funding from core initial investors at Dentsu Aegis Network (Amplifi Live).
It’s safe to say the two entities did not part amicably. Lang apparently went as far as to pen a five-page letter accusing Dentsu of “illegally sweeping” approximately $17 million from the festival bank accounts, according to reports from Pitchfork. The letter goes on to allege that Dentsu has employed various means of sabotaging Woodstock 50’s chances of survival following the media group’s departure, including indirectly obstructing ticket sales and urging both vendors and performers to sever ties with the festival.
“We also have evidence that Dentsu representatives have gone so far as to say that should the talent back out of Woodstock, they would be seen favorably by Dentsu and that this could result in their performing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where Dentsu is a major organizer,” Lang purportedly wrote.
Lang is now fervently searching to secure new funding, $30 million by Friday, to be precise, for the New York-held, August 16-18 affair to stay afloat, according to Billboard‘s reports from conversations with a spokesperson on Lang’s behalf. However, from whom Woodstock 50 will obtain its do-or-die backing is quite unclear.
Last week, it seemed help would come on the backs of New York-based event outfit, Superfly, after an announcement from Lang; though the event brand promptly issued a statement offically revoking any further involvement. While the situation seemed it couldn’t possibly grow more dizzying, the aforementioned Lang spokesperson also reported to Billboard that Dan Berkowitz and CID Entertainment, another festival/event production outlet, would step in to replace Superfly.
No one on behalf of CID has confirmed or denied their backing of Woodstock 50 as of yet. Though it doesn’t seem the festival in question has much of a sliver of opportunity should they dispel rumors of their involvement. The only truth to discern as of now from the road to Woodstock 50 is that the festival is already paved with precariousness, which is an unfortunate outcome for what once held the potential to be one of the best festivals of 2019.
In a headline that reads like the opening line of a Netflix documentary that will drop next year around this time, Woodstock founder, Michael Lang plans on raising $30 Million by this Friday to save his 50th-anniversary event. The news comes after the event was reported to be canceled last week after investors pulled the
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After over of a year of planning, and weeks of negative rumors, the 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock, set to take place this August in Watkins Glen, New York has been canceled. The festival confirmed that it would not be taking place in an official statement released to Billboard which reads, “It’s a dream for agencies
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One of the most exciting storylines to break last year was the creation of a 50th-anniversary festival to honor Woodstock. Soon details began to drip out. The festival would be hosted at Watkins Glen, NY. It would feature many prominent artists across many genres and generations of music. It would be a three-day camping event.
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Before it even gets off the ground, it looks like Woodstock 50 might be a bust. According to Michael Lang, co-founder of the original 1969 affair and organizer of this year’s anniversary festival, concerns of the event’s cancellation are being dispelled as “rumors,” though an email went out to booking agents on Friday April 19 alerted recipients that online ticket sales have been postponed.
Woodstock 50 ticket sales were supposed to launch on April 22 in celebration of Earth Day, though now with the online sale’s postponement, an air of uncertainty seems to hang over the festival. An email from Woodstock 50’s talent buyer to agents with acts playing the event this summer reads,
“There is currently a hold on the Woodstock 50 on-sale date. We are waiting on an official press statement from Woodstock 50 regarding updated announce, ticket pricing, and overall festival information. We will get this information to you as soon as we receive it.”
With no new date announced and a clear lack of viable information reaching booking and management teams, concerns for the event—due to be headlined by JAY Z, Santana, Dead & Company, and Miley Cyrus—seem to be more than unfounded rumors. However, speaking to Billboard, Lang says, “Woodstock is a phenomenon that for fifty years has drawn attention to its principles and also the rumors that can be attached to that attention,” adding that fears of an impending cancellation were, “just more rumors.”
Industry insiders guess that behind the scenes, Woodstock 50 could be combating issues with investors or host venue Watkins Glen International Speedway which may be the cause of the ticket sale delay. Time will tell, though Woodstock 50 seems to be on thin ice.
After months of anticipation, Woodstock 50 organizers have at last shared the full lineup for the festival’s half century anniversary. John Fogerty, Santana, Country Joe McDonald, Canned Heat and Hot Tuna, and John Sebastian, who all appeared at the 1969 event will perform at Woodstock 50, in homage to the festival’s original lineup. The Grateful Dead, who also graced Woodstock’s 1969 lineup, will take the stage at Woodstock 50 as Dead & Company with John Mayer.
The three-day lineup is an eclectic amalgamation of 1969 artists and comparatively more recent acts. The Killers, Halsey, JAY-Z, Black Keys, Chance The Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Cage the Elephant, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae, Earl Sweatshirt, and Brandi Carlile illustrate the genre-canvassing character of Woodstock 50’s sprawling roster of talent.
“Woodstock ’94 was a nice mix of young and old and that’s kind of what we’re going for here,” festival organizer Michael Lang told Rolling Stone. Woodstock 50 will take place from August 16-18 at Watkins Glen, New York. Tickets for the landmark anniversary event will go on sale April 22. More information about tickets can be found on Woodstock 50’s official website.
The Woodstock 50th Anniversary concert taking place at Watkins Glen in New York State has finally announced its heavily rumored lineup. While the public has known for some time that Santana was going to be apart of the reunion, the rest of the line up remained largely a mystery. Today, the final details have been
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