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Woodstock 50: Can the show go on?

Despite having lost its main investor and production partner, and with rumours of artist contracts now being invalid, Woodstock’s founder says the show will go on

By Anna Grace on 02 May 2019

Michael Lang

Michael Lang

image © George Holz

In a week that most festival organisers would want to forget, the problems faced by Woodstock 50 appear to be mounting. In addition to having lost its primary investor, the anniversary festival has now lost its production partner, and some reports suggest that artist contracts may be void.

After the event’s investor, Dentsu, withdrew its support on Monday and announced that it was cancelling the event, Woodstock founder Michael Lang voiced his commitment to going ahead with the festival, stating the event would not “be derailed by shortsighted partners” who “don’t have the right to cancel it.”

But according to Billboard, artists’ contracts for the festival were drawn up with Amplifi Live, the holding company controlled by Dentsu. Following Dentsu’s decision to withdraw its support from Woodstock, several agencies are now claiming that those contracts are void.

Yesterday, Woodstock’s production partner – events and marketing specialists Superfly which co-promotes Bonnaroo and Outside Lands – withdraw from the event.

“Following the decision of Dentsu to cancel the event, we [Superfly] will no longer be participating in ongoing related activities.”

“The producers of the Woodstock 50th anniversary festival hired Superfly to leverage our expertise as veteran event producers to manage festival operations, a role that aligned with our mission of creating shared experiences that build community,” says a Superfly spokesperson.

“Throughout our engagement our team provided counsel and recommendation on the necessary elements required to produce a safe and first-class experience. Following the decision of one of our clients, Dentsu, to cancel the event, we will no longer be participating in ongoing related activities.”

Amid the mounting speculation about Woodstock 50’s viability, Lang has now secured the services of trial lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz, who previously represented US president Donald Trump. But he remains officially upbeat about Woodstock still going ahead, telling Pollstar, “None of the artists have pulled out,” and “Everybody’s pulling for us, and it’s kind of inspiring.”

More to no doubt follow…


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