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
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"We believe in Woodstock as an important American cultural icon": investment bank, Oppenheimer, to help the Woodstock 50 team to complete financing for the festival
By Anna Grace on 20 May 2019
The organisers of Woodstock 50 have announced that the festival has found a new financial advisor, in the form of New York-based investment bank and financial services firm Oppenheimer and Co.
The future of Michael Lang’s Woodstock anniversary festival has been shrouded in doubt since Lang lost the event’s original financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, and its production partner, Superfly. Upon its withdrawal, Dentsu representatives announced the cancellation of the festival.
Event organisers say Oppenheimer will act as a “financial advisor to complete financing for the festival”. It is unclear whether the help from Oppenheimer constitutes the investment of capital or is limited to a purely advisory role.
Oppenheimer’s head of debt capital markets and syndication, John Tonelli, says the firm is “thrilled to be onboard for this incredible weekend of music and social engagement.”
“We believe in Woodstock as an important American cultural icon and look forward to its regeneration”
“We believe in Woodstock as an important American cultural icon and look forward to its regeneration in the green fields of Watkins Glen this August with all of the artists on the remarkable lineup,” states Tonelli.
Lang has previously stated that an investment totalling “approximately $35m” would be necessary if the festival were to go ahead.
“We look forward to putting on an incredible festival,” says Lang, who co-founded the original Woodstock in 1969. “Words cannot express how appreciative Woodstock 50, the artists, the fans and the community are to Oppenheimer for joining with us to make W50 a reality.”
Lang states that the ticket on-sale, first scheduled for 22 April, will be announced very soon. However, reports suggest that Lang is yet to have secured a mass-gathering permit for the event from the New York State Department of Health.
A court case, in which Woodstock 50 organisers demanded Dentsu return $17.8m to the festival bank account, concluded last week. A judge ruled against the returning of funds, but also rejected the investor’s right to cancel the event.
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