Court rules event was canceled by the wrong entity
Woodstock 50 may continue despite being canceled by financial backers, Dentsu Aegis, last month. Festival organizers won a court hearing for a temporary restraining order on May 9th to stop Dentsu from sabotaging the Festival.
“We are gratified that Justice Ostrager has ruled unequivocally that Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the Festival, and is immediately enjoined from cancelling the Festival,” a statement from Marc Kasowitz — partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP who is best known for briefly representing President Donald Trump during the Russia probe investigation and also serving as his personal outside attorney — reads. “Today’s order is an important victory that means the show will go on for the fans, the talent, and the world, which was and remains Woodstock 50’s mission.”
“Woodstock 50 is on! Now that the court has confirmed that the Festival was never validly cancelled and is going forward, Woodstock 50 can focus on finalizing the necessary funding arrangements,” says Gregory Peck, principal of Woodstock 50. “We can’t wait to bring this important event to the public this summer. We have one of the greatest lineups of talent of any music festival, and we are grateful to all of the talent for their loyalty and support.”
“We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place, shares producer Michael Lang. “I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”
Lang ensured last month that the festival would continue to go on as planned, despite the false cancellation and tickets not going on sale due to the lack of permits and other factors.
“We are committed to ensuring that the 50th anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture,” Lang shares on Facebook. “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. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support. 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!”
Officials with Dentsu Aegis Network — which was originally funding the three day music and arts festival during its 50th anniversary weekend, August 16-18th, in Watkins Glen, NY — withdrew their involvement in late April. They sent Billboard an official statement.
“It’s a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements,” the company says. “We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. But 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.”
The statement continues, “As a result and 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.”
More than 80 artists were announced in March — later than expected for an event of this magnitude — including The Killers, Miley Cyrus, The Lumineers, The Raconteurs, The Black Keys — who pulled out before all of the canceled chaos — Sturgill Simpson, Greta Van Fleet, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, and original Woodstock ’69 icons Santana and Dead & Company, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, David Crosby and Friends, John Fogerty and more.
There’s been some back and forth as to who the artists have contracts with — Dentsu or Woodstock 50. No clarification to this has been announced as of press time. More details as they become available.