The major festival’s sponsors agreed to cancel the event, but there are some who aren’t happy about this decision. This year’s event would mark the 50th anniversary of the festival, which is held in honor of Woodstock. However, the festival’s lead financier Dentsu Aegus Network stated that the festival won’t take place this year.
Michael Lang, Woodstock 50’s lead organizer, claims that the event will be held in August and that it will have the same team and partners.
Dentsu told the Daily Beast “He’d have to come up with a different name, different talent, different everything.” “The festival is now ours, and then we decided to cancel it,” he added.
These conflicting statements have led to speculation as to whether the festival will be another disaster like the Fyre Festival.
Many hotel reservations were canceled within a few days of Dentsu’s statement, greatly impacting Watkins Glen and NY’s economy according to Scott Bell, the general manager of Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel. “What the public and everybody misses is the amount of work that has gone into it to date,” Bell said. Artists such as Miley Cyrus, The Killers and Jay-Z were expected to be attending the festival.
It seems Lang requested a capacity of 75,000 attendees but Bethel Woods Center for the Arts could only accept 15,000. Reports indicate that this may be the main reason why Dentsu pulled out.
1999 Woodstock allowed over 220,000 attendees, but this year, investors are only requesting capacity for 100,000 people. Reports also state that Dentsu is unable to ensure a large audience, failing to meet the investors’ expectation.
Lang stated that Woodstock is set to run from August 16th to 18th in Watkins Glen, New York. However, confusion arises because of this question: who is the real owner of Woodstock 50?
Woodstock 50’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz said “Dentsu has no legal right or ability to cancel it.” In fact, hotelier Greg Peck, as well as other businesses and Lang are the only people who operate the Woodstock 50 LLC and its website.
However, Lang did say that the contract settlements took an “extraordinary” amount of time, causing the festival to have a late start.
The contract includes negotiations with Dentsu, a booker called Danny Wimmer Presents and an event company called Superfly.
Permits and party loyalty are also part of the Woodstock 50 debate. Billboard claimed that Woodstock 50’s contracts are Dentsu’s while other reports state that the talent was booked by Danny Wimmer Presents. In addition, Lang says that his people are part of the festival’s sponsors.
A representative for Hiring America remarked “We’re moving forward until we hear differently from the organizers. It’s a really important thing what Michael Lang and his team are doing.”