UPDATE: An attorney for Woodstock 50 has confirmed that the festival will continue as planned. “This confirms that Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning and production of the festival,” Marc Kasowitz, legal counsel for Woodstock 50, said in a statement. “Dentsu has no legal right or ability to cancel it. All stakeholders, including the entertainers, should proceed with the understanding that the event will take place as planned and if they have any questions, they should reach out directly.”
A rep for Dentsu declined to comment on the statement.
Woodstock cofounder Michael Lang has been vowing that his 50th anniversary festival will take place, despite the event’s financier announcing it was canceled yesterday. Lang sent a newsletter to people who registered for updates on the festival today saying that he would find a way to make it work. He promised to continue his work with New York State, Schuyler County (which houses the festival site, Watkins Glen International) and “various parties” to keep things moving.
“We have yet to understand why [financier Dentsu-Aegis] would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way,” he 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. … Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.”
A rep for Dentsu declined to comment on Lang’s newsletter.
Yesterday, Dentsu issued a statement that said that it did not think Woodstock 50 “can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.” The company went on to say that it decided to cancel the festival. “We believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
Lang’s Woodstock 50 partners fired back last night with a statement affirming its decision to move forward. “We are committed to ensuring that the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture,” the organizers said. “Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it’s going to be a blast.”
Despite the optimism, the festival hasn’t yet put tickets up for sale. They were originally supposed to be available on April 22nd but were held back. It has yet to announce a new on-sale date.
“Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will,” Lang wrote. “We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!”
Read Michael Lang’s full statement:
Dear Woodstock Friends
It seems in a way that history is repeating itself. In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!
This time around, Woodstock’s new hometown, Dix & Watkins Glen, NY and New York State have been really wonderful. I went door to door to talk to the neighbors. Some remembered Summer Jam back in ’73 and were worried about history repeating itself. But they opened their doors to us and we talked it out. Many of those people have reached out over the last 24 hours with messages of hope and encouragement.
The venue, Watkins Glen International, have been totally supportive and professional.
Yesterday, our financial partner, Dentsu-Aegis, made the decision to pull out and informed us that they were cancelling the festival at the same time they let the press release go public.
We have yet to understand why they would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way. 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.
Yesterday, I couldn’t help but relive that moment 50 years ago – it was “déjà vu all over again”!
Supporting the principles of activism and sustainability are too important to be derailed by shortsighted partners.
We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track.
Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.
Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will.
We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!
Thanks for Listening, Michael