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Woodstock festivities kick off at Bethel Woods

Despite the well-publicised difficulties and eventual cancellation of the official Woodstock 50 anniversary event, the 1969 festival will receive its half-century commemoration this weekend, in the form of a four-day series of events at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA).

The events, set on the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival at Bethel Woods, kicked off yesterday (15 August), with Arlo Guthrie taking once again to the Woodstock stage for a free concert.

Originally announcing a full-scale anniversary festival – to have been produced by Live Nation and creative agency Invnt – BWCA later scaled back plans to create the multi-day music and arts programme.

The Bethel Woods site is not the only remnant from the 1969 festival. Woodstock veterans Carlos Santana and John Fogerty are performing over the four days, along with Ringo Starr.

The “pan-generational cultural event” will also feature TED-style talks and “special exhibits”.

“On this day in 1969, a 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains became the site of one of the most defining music events in rock and roll history”

“On this day in 1969, a 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains became the site of one of the most defining music events in rock and roll history,” reads a post on the Bethel Woods Twitter page.

It is expected that up to 100,000 visitors will access the area over the four days. Only ticketholders will be permitted on site and all attendees must present a travel pass on entry to avoid overcrowding.

“We’re trying to encourage people that are not interested in the concert-side of things, and just want to come and sort of breathe the air and feel the vibes… to come on other weekends,” Bethel Woods chief executive Darlene Fedun told the Associated Press.

Michael Lang, the organiser of the original ‘three days of peace and music’, had deemed the Bethel Wood site’s capacity too small for his eventually ill-fated anniversary event. Lang pulled the plug on his Woodstock 50 event with just two weeks to go, after the festival lost its primary financier, two production partners, two venues and its whole line-up.

Around 400,000 people attended the 1969 festival. A recent report revealed that almost 50% of festivalgoers from the so-called ‘Woodstock Generation’ now suffer from hearing loss, with 70% saying they long to experience music as they did in the past.

 


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Hearing loss rife among Woodstock gen music lovers

Almost 50% of festivalgoers belonging to the original Woodstock 1969 generation now suffer from hearing loss, a new survey reveals.

The survey, conducted by the Harris Poll and commissioned by Danish hearing aid specialist Oticon, questioned over 1,000 US adults between the age of 65 to 80 who had reported listening to “loud or very loud music in their youth”.

Fifty years on from Woodstock, 36% of a self-proclaimed music-loving crowd – 71% of respondees reported music was a major part of their lives when they were young – now state that hearing difficulties negatively impacts their ability to listen to music to some extent.

Among those with hearing loss, 47% say they no longer enjoy music as much as they used to and 70% wish they could experience music as they did in the past.

The results suggest that, even if Michael Lang’s Woodstock 50 anniversary event had gone ahead as planned, it is unlikely that the original fans would have enjoyed themselves as much the second time around.

“We [now] know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain the ability to enjoy music”

“The survey results demonstrate the far-reaching consequences of loud music listening on hearing health,” says Oticon president Gary Rosenblum.

“That’s an important message for young people today. We [now] know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain the ability to enjoy music and conversation.”

Rosenblum urges those of the “Woodstock Generation” to address their hearing loss. 70% of those surveyed had never seen a health care professional about their hearing, and only 12% had ever used a hearing aid.

Exposure to loud noise also produces negative effects on music industry professionals, damaging their ability to sleep and sometimes provoking mental health risks.

Help Musicians UK is one charity safeguarding the hearing of those working in live, providing moulded hearing protection for 10,000 music professionals through the Hearing Health Scheme.

 


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Woodstock 50 joins 2019’s festival graveyard

To the surprise of very few, Woodstock 50 is officially no more (for real this time, unlike that fake cancellation in April). With 16 days to go – and after losing its primary financier, two production partners, two venues and its entire line-up – organisers yesterday (31 July) finally pulled the plug on the troubled anniversary festival, which had yet to put a single ticket on sale.

“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,” Michael Lang, co-founder of the original 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair and lead producer of Woodstock 50.

Urging artists and agents, all of whom “have been fully paid”, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount, a nonprofit which works with musicians to promote voter registration and participation, Lang says his thoughts now “turn to Bethel” – where a rival event is being held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA), on the original Woodstock site, on the same dates – “and its celebration of our 50th anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock.”

But Woodstock 50 is far from the first festival doomed to fail, and it won’t be the last; as the round-up below illustrates, it’s in good company alongside numerous other high-profile cancellations in 2019…

“A series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined”

Doctor Music Festival (12–14 July)
A planned comeback for Spain’s iconic Doctor Music Festival (DMF), three years in the making and following a 19-year hiatus, was abandoned as a result of last-minute venue change forced on organisers by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA).

Originally scheduled to take place in a mountain valley amid the Catalan Pyrenees, DMF was relocated to the Catalunya-Barcelona racing circuit in April after ACA warned warned that the event’s original site was at risk of flooding. After promoter Doctor Music offered ticketholders refunds, a “huge number” of fans took them up on the offer, leaving organisers unable “to offer the experience we were striving for” and forced to cancel.

Writing in IQ shortly after the cancellation, Doctor Music CEO Neo Sala described the axing of DMF as a victory for “grey” bureaucrats and their “eco-opportunist” allies over common sense. “The circumstances that brought about the cancellation of the event are surreal to say the least, and would appear more befitting of a Kafkaesque state than a Spanish administration that claims to be concerned with popular culture and the development of rural areas,” said Sala.

DMF organisers were unable “to offer the experience we were striving for”

Arcadia London (4–5 May)
Initially envisioned as a one-off event for Glastonbury Festival’s 2018 fallow year, Arcadia – creator of Glastonbury’s iconic fire-breathing Spider installation – announced plans to bring back its Arcadia London festival (formerly Arcadia Spectacular) for 2019, with a line-up that included DJs Helix, Jamie Jones, DJ EZ and Sub Focus.

Promoter LWE Events called time on the event in February, with Arcadia saying it would be unable to honour its commitments to Glastonbury alongside a standalone festival.

“After planning for last year’s Arcadia tenth-anniversary event to be a one-off celebration, we received such strong feedback that we hoped to creatively evolve the event for a second year with a host of innovative new performance elements,” read a statement.

“As we stand, we aren’t confident of hitting the targets that would allow us to develop that new experience and the pressures of a difficult market would risk serious knock on effects to Arcadia’s other commitments, especially Glastonbury. Taking these factors into consideration, it is with great regret that Arcadia London will not be going ahead in 2019.”

“The environment that forces us to depend on foreign content to cast artists leads to excessive competition”

Jisan Rock (26–28 July)
Jisan Rock festival, one of South Korea’s biggest, was called off with three days to go, with promoter D2 Global Company cryptically blaming its lack of perspective “reading the trend[s] of today” and failure to “communicate enough with the fans”.

According to the Korea Herald, D2 also said on 23 July it was “not possible to hold the concerts”, sparking “anger and confusion from fans”. The abrupt cancellation reportedly came as a shock to the industry, with one of the acts slating to perform quoted as saying: “I never expected anything like this to happen three days before the performance. I figure fans will be more shocked than we are.”

At the time of its cancellation, just one international artist, Australia’s King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, had been added to Jisan Rock 2019’s line-up. The 2019 festival would have been the first under new ownership for the former Jisan Valley Rock Festival, held intermittently in Icheon since 2009.

In the same statement, organisers hinted at problems in recruiting artists for the festival, referring to the “many innate problems in the concert-producing business in Korea”. “Due to lack of communication between producers, the environment that forces us to depend on foreign content to cast artists leads to excessive competition,” they said. “This results in an even more hazardous environment for producing concerts.”

Roxodus “did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent”

Roxodus (11–14 July)
Canada’s Roxodus festival, which would have taken place for the first time in mid-July, fell at the first hurdle, with organisers blaming “tremendous rainy weather” for its cancellation with weeks to go.

Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Billy Idol and Blondie were booked to perform at the rock-orientated event, produced by a company called MF Live, which later filed for bankruptcy after finding itself unable to pay its creditors. Liquidator Grant Thornton Ltd said Roxodus “did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent”.

Eventbrite refunded all ticketholders out of its own pocket while “aggressively pursu[ing] the return of funds from the festival’s creators”. Other parties owed money include security companies, production firms and other contractors and concession operators.

“The original footprint was affected by the presence of Great Lakes piping plover shorebirds”

Mamby on the Beach (23–24 August)
Bringing to mind the avian woes that plagued the final T in the Park, Chicago’s Mamby on the Beach was forced to pull its second edition with just over a month to go due to a number of “circumstances beyond” promoters’ control – including the presence of endangered birds on the festival site.

“Organisers for Mamby On The Beach are saddened to announce that the 2019 festival has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond their control,” promoters React Presents and Jam Productions said in a joint statement. “These unforeseen issues include significantly higher than average waters of Lake Michigan eliminating the beach portion of the festival’s intended site.

“Additionally, the original footprint was affected by the presence of Great Lakes piping plover shorebirds, a federally protected species.”

Acts due to perform at Mamby on the Beach 2019 included Flying Lotus, T-Pain, Troye Sivan, Brockhampton and Santigold.

“In the interests of the safety of our customers, we have taken the decision to cancel the event”

Rewind North (2–4 August)
The most recent cancellation on this list is Rewind North, the Cheshire leg of the popular UK retro music festival, which announced today (1 August) it would no longer go ahead due to “extreme weather”.

Due to kick off tomorrow, with performers including Bananarama, Gloria Gaynor and Level 42, Rewind North fell victim to the flooding affecting much of north-western England, with organisers pointing to “the prolonged extreme wet weather conditions experienced in Cheshire” as “caus[ing] significant disruption to the site at Rewind North.

“Although we have robust contingency plans in place and have made every effort to allow the festival to go ahead, in the interests of the safety of our customers, we have taken the decision to cancel the event,” read a statement from promoter Broadwick Live.

“Miracles based on marketing and myths don’t exist”

Vestiville (28–30 June)
By far the most controversial cancellation here, Vestiville, a Netherlands-born festival due to take place in Lommel, Belgium, at the end of the June, was called off at the last minute after Lommel’s mayor raised concerns about the security of festivalgoers.

Similar to the notorious Fyre Festival, Vestiville patrons – many of whom had come from abroad to see a largely American line-up that included hip-hop stars Cardi B, Future, Asap Rocky and Migos – reportedly arrived in Lommel to find an unfinished, under-staffed site a world away from the complete, professional-looking festival build trailed on social media in advance.

Videos shared on social media purported to show unrest after festivalgoers ordered by police to leave the site, while others described being stranded without food or water ahead its evacuation.

Speaking to IQ in the days following the cancellation – which ended up with organisers being detained by Belgian police – Herman Schuereman of Rock Werchter, which took place the same weekend, suggested Vestiville, an “imported festival from Holland”, failed because it tried to run before it could walk.

“It was a non-event, without roots, and it proves again that it is much wiser to start a festival small and let it grow every year,” he says. “It is like a tree: plant it in good soil, water it well, take care of it and it will grow every year. Miracles based on marketing and myths don’t exist…”

“[We are] finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize”

In addition to outright cancellations, several events are taking hiatuses in 2019 ahead of expected returns next summer. They include:

Rize (August)
Festival Republic opted not to stage its V Festival replacement, Rize, this year after the festival underperformed in its 2018 debut, which was headlined by Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics.

A festival is expected to return to the V/Rize site in Hylands Park in Chelmsford, UK, in some form next year. A successor to the northern leg of V Festival, in Staffordshire, has yet to materialise.

“The council has been made aware that Festival Republic is not proceeding with Rize in 2019,” a spokesperson for Chelmsford City Council told IQ in January. “However, the council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020 and details of this will become available when contracts are in place.”

“We are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes”

OppiKoppi (August)
Matchbox Live’s OppiKoppi, one of South Africa’s longest-running and best-loved music festivals, in April called off its 25th anniversary edition following a spate of violent crime at the 2018 event.

In a statement, organisers said: “For 24 years, OppiKoppi has been going great guns. Unfortunately, in 2018 we experienced the rampant crime currently impacting events and festivals across South Africa. For us to present the 2019 event with the increased security measures that are required to curb this crime to present a safe and enjoyable festival, the production costs also increase drastically.

“By taking a gap year, we are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes without impacting the festivalgoer by increasing ticket prices. We believe that in doing this, we will bring everyone a fresh new festival, ready to take music lovers forward for the next 25 years.”

OppiKoppi 2018, held near Northam, a small town in Limpopo (formerly Transvaal) in the north-east of the country, was targeted by roving gangs of thieves, with one festivalgoer allegedly having his entire tent taken. The festival is expected to return, possibly in a new location, in 2020.

“The team is relooking every single brick that builds a festival in South Africa,” the statement continues. “We are even investigating bringing the festival to a venue closer to a major city, to enable day tickets, less travelling and other options for the attendees. […] We realise that a festival like OppiKoppi has a significant role to play in the South African music scene, along with a critical social cohesion role that it has been playing for many years. We are 100% up for it – but we want to do it right.”

“We feel that we have achieved all that we can at this site”

Panorama (July)
After a stormy 2018, AEG’s Panorama, held since 2016 on New York’s Randalls Island, is similarly taking a gap year, after failing to secure an event permit for a new site in Queens.

In a statement, AEG says Panorama, booked partially by Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett, is on “hiatus in 2019 while we continue discussions with NYC Parks to bring the festival to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, where it was originally envisioned”.

“We had a fantastic experience with Paul Simon this past September at Flushing Meadows and look forward to returning in the future,” a spokesperson told Billboard in January. “We were disappointed in NYC Parks’ denial of our permit application, despite the long-term benefits this event would deliver to the community and the park. While we have enjoyed our time on Randall’s Island and its great facilities, we feel that we have achieved all that we can at this site.”

Janet Jackson, David Byrne and St Vincent were among those who played Panorama 2018.

 


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All change for free-to-attend Woodstock 50

Woodstock 50 has been subject to more upheaval over the past few days, moving out of New York state, reportedly releasing all scheduled artists from contracts and making tickets free.

Eighteen days out from the anniversary event, organisers of struggling Woodstock 50 have announced a new venue, 275 miles south of the original site at Watkins Glen.

The festival is now to take place at the 32,000-capacity Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland state, having lost its first venue at Watkins Glen racetrack and later failing to secure a permit for replacement site, Vernon Downs racecourse.

Following the new venue announcement, artists were reportedly released from festival contracts, as the distance from the original site allegedly constituted a contractual breach.

All artist names and line-up information has since been removed from the Woodstock 50 website.

Acts scheduled to perform at Woodstock 50 included Jay-Z, Dead and Company, John Fogerty, the Killers, Miley Cyrus and Santana.

“We’re still waiting to hear who is playing, but [..] they [Woodstock] do still have a venue if they have a show”

“We’re still waiting to hear who is playing, but that’s not our job,” says Seth Hurtwitz, chairman and co-founder of venue operator IMP. “They do still have a venue if they have a show.”

It has also been announced that the event will now be free-to-attend, although remaining ticketed.

“Tickets are for a single day and will be distributed through HeadCount, participating artists’ foundations and local charitable partnerships in DC and Baltimore,” a Woodstock 50 spokesperson told Washington-based publication, WTOP.

Festival organiser Michael Lang has faced difficulties since the event’s primary financier, Amplifi Live, pulled out in April. The event has since lost production partners Superfly and replacement CID Entertainment, as well as its two previous venues.

Woodstock 50 is still scheduled to take place on the original dates from 16 to 18 August, with tickets yet to be distributed.

Merriweather Post Pavilion is to host concerts by Morrisey, the Smashing Pumpkins and Vampire Weekend over the coming weeks. In addition to Merriweather, IMP also operates Washington venues Anthem (6,000-cap.), 9:30 (1,200-cap.) and Lincoln Theatre (1,225-cap.).

 


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Woodstock organisers blame permit rejection on “politics”

The organisers of the beleaguered Woodstock anniversary festival have blamed “certain political forces”, following the denial of a temporary event permit from the town of Vernon in New York State.

The small town rejected the festival’s request for a permit yesterday (10 July), on the basis that its application was late and incomplete.

In a statement released today, Woodstock organisers stated that “certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival.”

The Woodstock 50 team also denied that they had submitted incomplete filing for the permit.

“Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did,” reads the statement.

“Certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival”

Organisers indicated that they plan to file an appeal of the decision, saying they were “hopeful” that such a reapplication would “prevail without further political interference”.

The permit rejection followed a meeting in which officials raised concerns over the ability to ensure safety at the event, given the short timeframe available.

Woodstock 50 is scheduled to take place from August 16 to 18. Tickets are yet to go onsale.

The future of the 50th-anniversary celebration of Woodstock has been in doubt ever since its financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, pulled its support in April.

The event has since lost two production partners – Superfly and CID Entertainment – and its original venue, Watkins Glen International.

 


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Troubled Woodstock 50 loses another venue

A small town in New York state mooted as the new location for Woodstock 50 has rejected the troubled festival’s request for a permit, saying its application is both too late and incomplete.

The denial, confirmed yesterday by Vernon spokesperson Vincent Rossi, came a day after opponents of the festival packed a town council meeting to voice their concerns about safety and traffic in the rural area, according to the Associated Press.

Rob Maciol, sheriff of Oneida County, which contains Vernon, told the crowd it would be impossible to ensure public safety on such short notice – the festival is due to begin on 16 August – reports the AP.

Organisers are expected to appeal the decision, which they have to right to do within five days.

The Vernon Downs racecourse (pictured) emerged as a potential site for the festival after the original venue, Watkins Glen International, pulled out last month, citing breach of contract.

Organisers have the right to appeal the decision within five days

The future of Woodstock 2019, conceived as a 50th-anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock in 1969 by organiser Michael Lang, has been up in the air since original its financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, pulled out in April. Upon Amplifi’s withdrawal, Dentsu reps declared they had unilaterally cancelled the festival, though a New York judge ruled the following month the event would still be allowed to go ahead.

Lang and partners secured a new financial financial backer, in the form of investment bank Oppenheimer and Co., in May, though Woodstock 50 still lacks the mass-gathering permit from local authorities needed to ahead, and tickets are not yet on sale, with just over a month to go.

More than 80 acts have been booked for the event, including headliners the Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z and Imagine Dragons.

 


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Woodstock 50 appeal for funds return denied

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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Woodstock 50 woes mount as venue pulls out

With under ten weeks until kick-off, the still permit-less Woodstock 50 anniversary event has added to its organisational woes by losing both its venue, the Watkins Glen racetrack in New York state, and production partner CID Entertainment.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon (11 June) US time, a spokesperson for Watkins Glen International (WGI) simply said: “Watkins Glen International terminated the site license [sic] for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival.”

Watkins Glen’s cancellation was followed less than hour later by news that CID Entertainment – itself a stand-in for Superfly, which was originally supposed to produce the event – would, “given developments”, also be forced to pull its involvement, reports Billboard.

The future of the festival, conceived as a 50th-anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock in 1969 by organiser Michael Lang, has been up in the air since original its financial partner, Dentsu Aegis’ investment arm Amplifi Live, pulled out in April. Upon Amplifi’s withdrawal, Dentsu reps declared they had unilaterally cancelled the festival, though a New York judge ruled the following month the event would still be allowed to go ahead.

“We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50”

Lang and partners secured a new financial financial backer, in the form of investment bank Oppenheimer and Co., in May, though Woodstock 50 still lacks the mass-gathering permit from local authorities needed to ahead, according to Rolling Stone.

Additionally, tickets are not yet on sale, despite the festival being just over two months away.

Despite the latest setbacks, festival co-organiser Gregory Peck is upbeat Woodstock 50 will go ahead as planned. “We confirm that we will not be moving forward with Watkins Glen as a venue for Woodstock 50,” says Peck in a statement. “We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th–18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.”

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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Woodstock 50 secures new financial partner

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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Judge gives Woodstock 50 the go-ahead

A New York Supreme Court judge has ruled that Woodstock 50 investor Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the festival, but rejects organisers’ demands that Dentsu return $18 million to the festival account.

The ruling, the result of two days of legal proceedings, rejects the cancellation of the Woodstock anniversary event by Dentsu’s investment arm Amplifi Live. The company withdrew its support from the festival, organised by Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang, in April.

“Nothing in the [Financing and Production Agreement] indicates that Amplifi’s exercise of the Control Option [cancelling the festival] overrides the contract’s explicit requirement that any cancellation of the festival be mutually agreed upon in writing,” stated the judge.

However, the court also ruled against Lang’s request that Amplifi return $18 million that it took from the festival account upon its withdrawal.

“Now that the court has confirmed that the festival was never validly cancelled, Woodstock 50 can focus on finalising the necessary funding arrangements”

The judge stated that Lang’s team fell “woefully short of making the heightened showing necessary to warrant a mandatory injunction ordering Amplifi to return $17.8 million to the festival bank.”

An Amplifi spokesperson said that the company “feels vindicated” by the court’s decision.

“Now that the court has confirmed that the festival was never validly cancelled and is going forward, Woodstock 50 can focus on finalising the necessary funding arrangements,” says Lang’s business partner, Gregory Peck.

Woodstock 50 is due to take place from 16 to 18 August in Watkins Glen, New York.

 


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