Woodstock 50 back on after judge rules in favour of festival

Woodstock 50 organizers have won a court order against Dentsu Aegis, the investor that dropped out of the festival earlier this month and subsequently attempted to cancel it.

The petition, submitted by attorney Marc Kasowitz last week, requested that the court place a gag order on Dentsu Aegis, which would force the company to cease all communication relating to Woodstock 50 and return the US$17.8 million that was taken from both parties’ shared account.

Judge Barry Ostrager of the New York State Supreme Court refused to order Dentsu Aegis to return the allegedly “siphoned” money to the festival organizers as it was the company’s own initial investment, according to Variety, however the Woodstock team still prevailed.

Ostrager ruled that Amplifi Live — the live entertainment subsidiary of Dentsu Aegis — could not cancel the festival and subsequently split ties between the once-collaborative parties.

“Woodstock 50 festival may go ahead as planned,” wrote the festival in a celebratory Twitter post on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Woodstock 50 seeks court order against investor that backed out

Although things are starting to work out in favour of Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang, he and his team are now seemingly operating on a much tighter budget.

Tickets have also yet to go on sale. The festival is scheduled for the Aug. 16-18 weekend, leaving less than three months for Lang, 74, to get things back on track.

It’s currently unclear why ticket sales were initially delayed, however many have speculated that it’s because the venue, Watkins Glen, has not been approved for a mass gathering permit by New York’s Department of Health (DOH).

The venue holds nearly 100,000 people and is known for being an often troublesome space that is easily affected by the weather. As of this writing, it’s still unclear if the DOH ever approved a permit.

Only last year, Phish’s three-day Curveball festival — set to take place at Watkins Glen — was cancelled as it was not approved by the DOH.

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While some things need to be ironed out before Woodstock 50 is ready to go, organizer Gregory Peck seemed positive about its latest development.

“Woodstock 50 is on,” said Peck in a statement to Pitchfork. “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,” he continued.

Lang added to his remarks by thanking the artists involved as well as their representatives for their continuous support.

“We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the festival would take place,” he said.

Kasowitz also responded to news of the judge’s decision.

“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,” Kasowitz said.

READ MORE: Woodstock 50 co-founder says investors trying to ‘suffocate and kill’ music festival

In its own statement, Amplifi Live said it felt “vindicated” by Ostrager’s ruling with regards to the money removed from the shared account.

“Woodstock 50 was not entitled to access the festival bank account per the contract, and thus, any access now is denied and the $17.8M remains with Amplifi Live,” the company said.

“The court did not rule that Amplifi Live’s assumption of control over the festival was improper,” the company added. “At this time, we do not intend to further invest in the festival due to the compressed timeframe and multiple health and safety concerns.”

Michael Lang and Common attend the announcement of the Woodstock 50 festival lineup at Electric Lady Studio on March 19, 2019 in New York City.

Michael Lang and Common attend the announcement of the Woodstock 50 festival lineup at Electric Lady Studio on March 19, 2019 in New York City.

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Woodstock 50

As of this writing, neither Lang nor his team of organizers has announced any updates regarding the festival’s next steps, only positivity about the legal matter.

It’s currently unclear when — or if — tickets will actually go on sale.


© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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