Woodstock 50: Michael Lang Issues Statement, Says Investors Had No Right to Cancel Festival
Woodstock 50 organizer Michael Lang has issued an extended statement regarding the status of the festival.
Via email, Lang shared the following:
“Dear Woodstock Friends
It seems in a way that history is repeating itself. In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!
This time around, Woodstock’s new hometown, Dix & Watkins Glen, NY and New York State have been really wonderful. I went door to door to talk to the neighbors. Some remembered Summer Jam back in ’73 and were worried about history repeating itself. But they opened their doors to us and we talked it out. Many of those people have reached out over the last 24 hours with messages of hope and encouragement.
The venue, Watkins Glen International, have been totally supportive and professional.
Yesterday, our financial partner, Dentsu-Aegis, made the decision to pull out and informed us that they were cancelling the festival at the same time they let the press release go public.
We have yet to understand why they would try to prevent the festival from happening by seemingly undermining us in this way. 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.
Yesterday, I couldn’t help but relive that moment 50 years ago – it was “ déjà vu all over again”!
Supporting the principles of activism and sustainability are too important to be derailed by shortsighted partners.
We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track.
Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.
Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will.
We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!
Thanks for Listening, Michael”
Yesterday (April 29), Dentsu-Aegis issued a statement to Billboard saying, “It’s a dream for agencies to work with iconic brands and to be associated with meaningful movements. We have a strong history of producing experiences that bring people together around common interests and causes which is why we chose to be a part of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival. But despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees. As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
Billboard also states that organizers were concerned the Watkins Glen International Speedway, the announced site of the festival, would not be able to accommodate the estimated 100,000 attendees.
Tickets for the festival were originally supposed to go on sale on April 22, but that date was pushed back because organizers didn’t secure a mass gathering permit from the New York State Department of Health for the Watkins Glen International Speedway. At the time of the postponed ticket sales, Lang called early buzz of the festival’s cancelation “just more rumors.”
Woodstock 50 is scheduled to take place August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Headliners for the festival include The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z and Imagine Dragons. Other acts booked included Santana, The Raconteurs, Halsey, Janelle Monae, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, John Fogerty, Greta Van Fleet, Gary Clark Jr., David Crosby and Friends, Rival Sons, Imagine Dragons, Cage The Elephant, Young the Giant, The Zombies and many more.