Woodstock 50 is fighting against odds after their investor and production partner both severed ties from the event. On the heels of watching the tragic unfolding of Fyre Festival, Woodstock founder Michael Lang is fighting very hard and says “We’re not stopping now” and plans to get the festival going with funding and production partners.
In a NY Times article, Michael Lang says of the investors, “We need to replace them financially. We are a few days away from permits; we are in talks with investors who are anxious to come in.” He continues, “We have a short window to put this back together. That’s obvious. We feel it’s enough time, and there is enough interest, that we think we will accomplish it.”
Dentsu-Aegis, the company that was providing financial backing to Woodstock 50, announced Monday, April 29 that the event was canceled, noting that the event could not “be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees,” according to a statement.
It was also announced that Superfly, the production partner has also severed ties with Woodstock 50. According to a Rolling Stone article, “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.”
Lang commented on the investor pullout, “We have yet to understand why [Dentsu-Aegis] would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way,” he wrote. “It is one thing to decide for oneself that it is best to move on, but it is entirely another thing to try and close the door on us. … Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.”
He followed that up later in the day with a statement from the festival’s lawyer: “This confirms that Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning and production of the festival,” attorney Marc Kasowitz said. “Dentsu has no legal right or ability to cancel it. All stakeholders, including the entertainers, should proceed with the understanding that the event will take place as planned and if they have any questions, they should reach out directly.”
A source who has worked on many festivals over the last 20 years told Rolling Stone the loss of Superfly is “catastrophic.” “With Superfly leaving the fold, that’s just the death knell,” the source said. “Any festivalgoer knows now that Superfly doesn’t have faith in it. I don’t know how you recover from that. It’s impossible.”
In order for Woodstock 50 to continue, it would need support from a major company like AEG, which produces Coachella, or C3, which produces Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Fest. A rep for AEG declined to comment. A rep for C3 said that the company would not be getting involved with Woodstock 50.