It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary event, and the ride is not over quite yet. The highly anticipated event took the headlines by storm since it came to light last December that a reunion would occur on the original grounds, but since then there has been some turbulence surrounding it.
A short time after unleashing a diverse star-studded line-up, financial investors Dentsu Aegis Network announced that they were backing out of the deal for various reasons and that the event was going to be canceled.
Woodstock stood tall the same day and made a press release stating that they would seek new partners and that the event would move forward as planned. If that was not enough up and down for the event, it now seems as if it going to be linked to the Fyre Festival in terms of scandal due to the former funders illegally draining money from the festival.
In a letter that was sent to Dentsu and several media outlets, Michael Lang, who was one of the original Woodstock organizers, as well as the leading promoter for the fiftieth-anniversary event, is claiming that the former financial backers took 17 million dollars from the festival after publically breaking ties with it. To coincide with the disreputable claims, the letter also accuses Dentsu of trying to persuade artists that were set to perform at Woodstock to back out.
The money was allegedly taken from the festivals bank account on the same day that Dentsu announced the cancellation. Embezzlement and sabotage is not a good look for any financial company, but in a statement that was published by Variety, Dentsu said:
“As financial partner, we had the customary rights one would expect to protect a large investment. After we exercised our contractual right to take over, and subsequently, cancel the festival, we simply recovered the funds in the festival bank account, funds which we originally put in as financial partner.” They did not comment about the allegations pertaining to them trying to coax scheduled performing artists to back out.
While the Woodstock official website that was updated after the cancelation announcement boldly claims that “our intentions hold firm. To deliver a world-class, once-in-a-lifetime festival to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock”, they apparently have a huge mountain to climb to get everything sorted out by the scheduled August event date.
Amongst other things, the organizers of Woodstock 50 still have to secure permits and come up with several million dollars to fund the event. Billboard reported that the Woodstock organizers sought $20 million from Live Nation and AEG, however, both companies declined the request.
Where there is a will there is a way, and let’s face it, everybody wants to attend a new age Woodstock event. Where it does not look good for the organizers at this point, they are staying positive and putting up one hell of a fight.
If the seventeen million dollars that was taken from their bank account truly was an illegal act, then it indubitably will get returned after a lawsuit demands it. Tickets have not yet gone on sale for the event, but the world is patiently waiting for the day to come. We love you Woodstock 50, fight the power.