Woodstock 50 can proceed as planned but must locate more funding as judge rules that former investor need not return the $18m demanded by event organisers
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
“Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it”: Lang hits back following the supposed cancellation of Woodstock 50 by its primary investor
By Anna Grace on 01 May 2019
Michael Lang, Woodstock 1969 co-founder and the organiser of the Woodstock 50 anniversary event, has said the event will not “be derailed by shortsighted partners”, after its investor announced it was withdrawing support and cancelling the event, as reported by IQ yesterday.
The investor, an arm of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu, released the statement yesterday (Monday 29 April), stating it was cancelling the event.
However, Lang has a different story to tell. The Woodstock 50 organiser says the announcement came as a surprise and states that the investor does “not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival.”
Lang released a detailed statement in which he parallels present difficulties with those experienced when organising the original Woodstock in 1969.
“It seems in a way that history is repeating itself,” writes Lang. “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. 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.
“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 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.
“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!
Lang’s statement follows a shorter declaration released by the Woodstock 50 team hours after Dentsu’s announcement, confirming their commitment to holding the festival and their intention to find a new financial partner.
“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.
“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,” said the Woodstock team.
“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”
Lang also states that all Woodstock 50 acts have already been paid in full, making the event viable if another financial backer is found.
The original Woodstock 50 partner, Dentsu Aegis Network, issued the statement expressing concerns over the viability of the event yesterday (Monday 29 April).
“Despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival 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.
“After careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved,” reads the statement.
The statement came after delays to the event’s on sale, scheduled for Monday 22 April, and speculations that organisers had failed to obtain a mass-gathering permit from the New York State Department of Health.
The festival is scheduled to take from August 16 to 18, over the original Woodstock 1969 weekend. The line-up includes Santana, John Fogerty, Robert Plant, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Jay-Z. The Black Keys recently pulled out of the festival, following “unforeseen scheduling conflicts”.