On Monday, it was announced that Woodstock 50 was cancelled. In a statement released by the Dentsu Aegis Network — a financial backer of the festival — they said that they didn’t “believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name.”
But festival organizer Michal Lang, one of the partners behind the original Woodstock, says that the festival will go on, despite a lot of other companies pulling out. Rolling Stone was told by Superfly, the company that co-produces Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, that they were no longer involved; multiple talent agencies told Billboard that the artists are no longer obligated to play. “The artist contracts are with Dentsu, not with Michael Lang or Woodstock 50,” one of them said to Billboard.
And yet! In an interview with The New York Times, Lang insists that the festival is still happening. “Woodstock is kind of about … I don’t know how describe it other than that it’s just about commitment,” he said. “We’re committed. We were committed then, and we’re not stopping now.”
Lang is positioning this as a sort of fight against the man, telling The New York Times that “in this day and age when things are so buttoned down, and the industry is so buttoned down, this is kind of an oddity.” He says that, after sending a letter to “people who have emailed us” asking questions, he’s received “a great response.”
Lang has enlisted the lawyer Marc E. Kasowitz (who also represents President Trump) to send out a statement saying that Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the festival, saying that “all stakeholders, including the entertainers,” are to proceed as if the festival is still going on.
Tickets were supposed to go on sale last week, and reportedly Woodstock 50 still does not have the necessary New York State permits to hold a gathering on the Watkins Glens grounds.
Sounds like as much of a shit show as the original Woodstock was! At least they’re keeping the spirit alive.