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WOODSTOCK 50: YES? NO? MAYBE? (UPDATE)

The day after Dentsu Aegis Network pulled the plug on Woodstock 50, festival organizer Michael Lang sent out an email stating that the three-day concert will still take place. No one is quite sure who to believe.

The Woodstock 50 festival, planned for 8/16-18 in Watkins Glen, N.Y., has been dealing with much behind-the-scenes drama over venue capacity and other issues since it was announced months ago.

On Monday, festival financier Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, alerted the media that it “has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”

Saying Dentsu-Aegis undermined him, Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang sent out an email Tuesday stating that the three-day concert has not been canceled.

“We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track,” he wrote. “Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.”

In the letter, Lang said the situation was “déjà vu all over again,” comparing the latest development to losing their site in Walkill in 1969 and moving to Bethel.

“We have yet to understand why they would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way,” Lang wrote. “It is one thing to decide for oneself that it is best to move on, but it is entirely another thing to try and close the door on us.

“Supporting the principles of activism and sustainability are too important to be derailed by shortsighted partners…. We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!”

The question now is what happens to all that brown acid everyone has been making.

UPDATE: While the biz continues to speculate how Lang and Woodstock could recover from Dentsu pulling out of the festival, the festival organizer is maintaining that the show is not canceled, and that he is "very close to concluding something with an investor," he told Pollstar. Lang remains confident the show will go on, and is attempting to fix permit complications—among the pile of obstacles supposedly contributing to Dentsu's lack of faith in Woodstock. "In fact, on the Monday before, when we pushed the on-sale back, the County and State were ready to issue a conditional permit but there was a bond issue. We decided to just make sure the submissions got completed rather than wait and do a bond, which would have added four or five days to the process. The permits were about to be issued so it wasn’t that.” 

Initially targeting a permit for 150k folks, the new permit being issued will be for 75k, the number Dentsu recommended to Lang. 

As Lang focuses on saving the festival, the biz has become very close to moving on completely from the 50th anniversary celebration. With Dentsu out and Lang seeking new investors, some agents believe a new investor would nullify booked artists' contracts with Woodstock. In response, Woodstock 50’s lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz (coincidentally, long time personal lawyer for Donald Trump) issued the following statement to Pollstar: “A story just ran in Billboard saying that the Woodstock 50 artists can terminate their contracts because the agreements were with Dentsu and the festival is canceled. Both those statements are untrue. The artists’ agreements are with Woodstock 50 LLC and the festival has not been canceled and preparations are continuing.”

Stay tuned as this shit-show plays out. 

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