After trying everything to make it work, Woodstock 50 officially cancelled

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After trying everything to make it work, Woodstock 50 officially cancelledDead And Company Live Credit Billboard

Woodstock 50 has officially bit the dust.

Woodstock 50’s tumultuous months-long saga of logistical nightmares has come to an anticlimactic end with the event’s official cancellation, just weeks before it was set to take place. A series of major operational hurdles over the last few months proved to be too much for Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang, most recently having to move the event to Maryland after losing two permits, as well as funding partners, in New York. Furthermore, in an attempt to salvage the event, all performing artists were released from their contracts, but asked to play at a now-free event.

Radius clauses and the remnant stench of the Fyre Festival fiasco started forcing artists to bail left and right, starting with JAY-Z and the Dead & Company. Lang is now turning his attention to supporting the competing Woodstock homage event which is taking place in Bethel, New York, near the original Woodstock site. In a statement, Lang expressed his disappointment,

“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating. When we lost the Glen and then Vernon Downs we looked for a way to do some good rather than just cancel. We formed a collaboration with [voting encouragement organization] HeadCount to do a smaller event at [Columbia, Maryland’s] Merriweather Pavilion to raise funds for them to get out the vote and for certain NGOs involved in fighting climate change.”

Since Woodstock 50’s lineup was paid for in advance, Lang is calling for the artists and agents to donate a portion of their fees to HeadCount. Woodstock 50 seemed doomed from the moment online ticket sales failed to launch. Now, with a disbanded lineup, no venue, or strong financial backing, Woodstock 50 is sadly over before it started.

Woodstock 50 organizers convinced festival can be revived in Maryland

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Woodstock 50 organizers convinced festival can be revived in MarylandMerriweather Pavilion Photo Cred Will Cocks

Woodstock 50‘s saga continues, with organizers attempting to resuscitate the precariously situated could-be festival one last time by moving location to Maryland. The target destination is the Merriweather Post Pavilion in the city of Columbia, with the targeted dates of August 16-18.

Should the the festival successfully come together in time following the venue switch, more challenges await. For one, there’s a risk of low attendance on account of general disorganization and because of big-ticket artists like JAY-Z and Dead & Company stepping down from the artist roster. All other artist contracts have also been released, meaning other headliners like Halsey and Miley Cyrus may also choose not to perform.

The show will now be pitched out to the public as a benefit show, with profits geared towards encouraging US voter turnout and climate change protection. In transforming to a benefit show, organizers might be able to receive funds through different channels. A large email and ad campaign has been planned for a final push leading up to the event—and should it succeed, Woodstock 50 might just go down as one of the biggest last-minute win stories of the decade.

H/T: Bloomberg

Photo credit: Will Cocks

Woodstock 50 Releases All Artists From Contracts After Relocating To Maryland

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Merriweather Post PavillionOrganizers of the Woodstock 50 festival have formally released all artists scheduled to play from their contracts, Billboard has learned. More »

Woodstock 50 denied venue permit in Oneida County

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Woodstock 50 denied venue permit in Oneida CountyWoodstock50

2019 remains a cursed year for Woodstock 50 as the anniversary event continues to face logistical nightmare after logistical nightmare. The festival, which according to the official website’s live countdown still takes place in a month and still boasts acts like The Killers, Dead & Company, Jay-Z, and Chance the Rapper, lost its original venue at the Watkins Glen Raceway in NY earlier this month. In more recent news, the proposed celebration of peace and culture was denied a permit at the much smaller Vernon Downs Raceway just this week.

Woodstock 50’s have five days to appeal the decision, but Oneida Country Administrator Anthony Picente Jr. stated that the chances of the festival happening at Vernon Downs is “highly unlikely.”

Woodstock 50’s organizers released a statement following the
decision.

“In response to the denial of an event permit by the Town of Vernon, Woodstock 50 believes certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the Festival. Local reports claim Woodstock’s filing for the permit was “incomplete” but that is not the case. Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the Town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did. With a venue chosen, financing assembled and many of the artist’s [sic] supporting Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary event, the organizers are hopeful that their appeal and reapplication tonight will prevail without further political interference.”

The festival, which was originally planned as a 3 -day event including camping, is now being pitched as three 1-day events where attendees leave and return each day. Woodstock 50’s fate may be up in the air, but as the festival website’s live countdown insists, time is ticking…

H/T: Variety

Woodstock 50 organizers have their eyes on a smaller location following Watkins Glen permit loss

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Woodstock 50 organizers have their eyes on a smaller location following Watkins Glen permit lossElliott Landy Woodstock

Despite numerous cancellation rumors, the loss of key investors, and most recently the loss of their location permit, Woodstock 50 is still apparently on. The festival is reportedly seeking a permit to host its event at Vernon Downs, a horse racing and casino town in Oneida County, near Utica, New York. The location change comes after previous location, Watkins Glen, NY officially pulled Woodstock’s permit. Watkins Glen put out an official release, citing, “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”

Festival co-founder Michael Lang has not let these complications stop the planning from moving forward, but it remains to be seen whether this is the right approach for a festival that has been riddled with challenges from the outset. Woodstock 50 is still scheduled to go on from August 16-18, but due to the location change, it will be much smaller than initially planned. The proposed capacity of the event is now 45,000-50,000 people, which is significantly smaller than the 150,000 originally planned, and smaller than the approximately 70,000 people planned for the previous site, Watkins Glen International raceway. Although the festival is less than two months away, tickets are still not on sale due to the multiple investment and location issues that have arisen.

H/T: Variety

Photo Credit: Elliott Landy

Woodstock 50 Organizers Haven’t Contacted Artists To Discuss New Site (Or Anything Else)

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Michael LangIf Woodstock 50 organizers have a new venue and a potential producer waiting in the wings, they haven’t told the 80 artists listed on the Woodstock 50 lineup. More »

Woodstock 50 to Continue Amid Turmoil

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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

The post Woodstock 50 to Continue Amid Turmoil appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Woodstock 50 suffers another devastating blow with venue loss

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Woodstock 50 suffers another devastating blow with venue lossDead And Company Live Credit Billboard

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

Judge rules in Woodstock 50’s favor, festival can continue but remains in deep financial trouble

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Judge rules in Woodstock 50’s favor, festival can continue but remains in deep financial troubleMichael Lang

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.”

H/T: Billboard

Woodstock 50 founder in a jam to secure funding, alleges investors ‘illegally swept’ millions from festival

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Woodstock 50 founder in a jam to secure funding, alleges investors ‘illegally swept’ millions from festivalMichael Lang

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.

H/ts: Billboard / Pitchfork