There are less than 100 days until Woodstock 50 music festival, which is sceduled for August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York. Festival organizers and financial partners have continued their legal battles and are waiting for a hearing from the New York Supreme Court.
In what has become a story with nearly-daily updates, the last was Woodstock 50 organizer and original Woodstock organizer Michael Lang filed an injunction against financial partner Dentsu Aegis, asking for millions of dollars and demanding the company follow through on its obligations. A court hearing is set to take place Monday, May 13 in Manhattan.
According to Rolling Stone, Dentsu Aegis has now responded with claims that it was rightfully able to take over the organization and subsequently terminate the festival. They state that they had this right because of Lang and his “misrepresentations, incompetence and contractual breaches.”
Despite this, Woodstock founder/organizer Michael Lang fought back in the following days stating that, “Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it,” and declaring that the festival is still on. His attorney accused the other side of “slinging mud” and said “nothing in its court papers changes the fact that Dentsu has no right under its agreement with Woodstock 50 to either cancel the Festival or abscond with nearly $18 million of the Festival’s money.”
Production partner Superfly claimed their withdrawal from Woodstock 50 was based on the concerns about capacity limitations, which artists would be obligated to perform and who controlled the money. Because the county could only approve a mass-gathering event for 75,000 attendees at the site in New York when Lang had promised 150,000 initially and then set 125,000 as a minimum, the budget was essentially cut in half.
After a comprehensive evaluation, Amplifi Live, a subsidiary of Dentsu Aegis, reduced the festival budget from $25 million to $16-$17 million. It also moved the festival from three stages to two stages. However, Lang insisted offering around $32 million to artists for three-stage performances. Lang signed over $500,000 in contracts with artists and the festival hosted a “publicity event” that cost $120,000 and the company says he did so without their consent.
Last week, Woodstock co-founder Lang filed a legal petition and accused investor Dentsu of embezzling over 17 million dollars with a sabotage attempt to obstruct the progress of music festival, by encouraging artists and vendors to ditch the festival and scaring away festival-goers. According to Rolling Stone, Dentsu now is filing a lawsuit against for Lang’s “misrepresentations, incompetence and contractual breaches.”
Headliners for Woodstock 50 include Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper and many more. The Black Keys were initially announced as a performer, though they backed out before tickets went on sale, which were postponed for undisclosed reasons.