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Woodstock 50 appeal for funds return denied

Organisers of the Woodstock anniversary event have lost an appeal to recover $18m from former investor, Dentsu

By Anna Grace on 24 Jun 2019

Woodstock 50 loses appeal for funds return

New York Court of Appeals

image © Matt Wade

Woodstock 50 organisers have little hope of receiving the remaining US$18.5 million in festival funds from the event’s former investor – Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live – after New York judges reject a court appeal.

The appellate court also ordered that the funds, held by the investor’s attorney during the appeal process, be released back to Dentsu.

The appeal followed a court ruling in which a judge rejected demands from the Woodstock 50 team that Amplifi Live redeposit the money in the festival account.

Legal proceedings first began in May, after Amplifi withdrew its support from the event. Upon withdrawal, the investor took the remains of its $49m investment – amounting to $18m – from the festival account, which festival organisers believe ought to be returned to them.

The appeal rejection means organisers will need to look elsewhere for funding. Woodstock 50 attorney Marc Kasowitz wrote in a letter to the court that “restoration of the monies taken by (Dentsu) is necessary for the production of the festival.”

“Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning of the festival and looks forward to holding the festival at another venue with its new partners”

The beleaguered anniversary festival has had its share of problems since Amplifi’s initial withdrawal in April.

Earlier this month, the event lost both its venue, the Watkins Glen racetrack in New York state, and its replacement production partner CID Entertainment. Superfly, which was originally supposed to produce the event, pulled out in May.

However, organisers remain optimistic. “Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning of the festival and looks forward to holding the festival at another venue with its new partners,” read a statement released by attorney Kasowitz on Friday (21 June).

Vernon Downs, a racing track, casino and entertainment facility in New York state, is one of a few sites being considered as a replacement venue, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Tickets for Woodstock 50, scheduled to take place from 16 to 18 August, are yet to go on sale.

Acts booked to perform include the Killers, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, Imagine Dragons and 1969 performers Santana and Dead and Company.


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