Well, what happened here - did we take a mid-season break or something? Anyway, to get you up to speed with the latest twists and turns:-
We’ll See You in Court
May 9, 2019: Kasowitz makes the legal threats against Dentsu Aegis legit by filing a court order against the former investors; a hearing is scheduled for May 13, and a gag order against Dentsu Aegis is handed down by the court until then. Meanwhile, at least one major act is still confirmed for Woodstock 50: Imagine Dragons. “All I can say is that we were excited to perform and we’re [still] excited to perform if it takes place,” front man Dan Reynolds tells Billboard. “As far as I know, it still is [taking place]. I haven’t received a phone call telling us it’s been cancelled. I’ve seen articles telling both ways. Long story short, you probably know more than me. I have no idea.”
May 10, 2019: An in-depth recounting of the years leading up to Woodstock 50 from Billboard reveals that most agents and promoters had tried to talk Lang out of holding the fest at Watkins Glen for years before the fest’s unveiling because the site itself proved too “risky.” In recent months, a spate of infighting regarding issues ranging from attendance capacity to ticket prices caused unresolvable tensions between Lang, Superfly, and Dentsu Aegis; most notably, Billboard confirms their viewing of a January 8 email sent to Dentsu Aegis by Lang’s business partner, Greg Peck, in which he tells the former investors, “Essentially, we have no practical control to stop you from cancelling the festival for virtually any reason you see fit.”
May 13, 2019: The day of the previously scheduled hearing, Dentsu Aegis hits back publicly at Lang and his legal counsel, claiming in a memorandum that his “misrepresentations, incompetence, and contractual breaches have made it impossible to produce a high-quality event that is safe and secure for concertgoers, artists, and staff.” The memorandum also accuses Lang of misappropriating “thousands” of dollars in funds, as well as ignoring requests from Dentsu Aegis to refund money related to artist cancellations. “While Dentsu has used its filing to sling mud, nothing in its court papers changes the fact that Dentsu has no right under its agreement with Woodstock 50 to either cancel the Festival or abscond with nearly $18 million of the Festival’s money,” Kasowitz tells Billboard in a statement later that day.
And We’re Back, Baby! … Maybe?
May 15, 2019: A day after the hearing adjourns, New York Supreme Court justice Barry Ostrager hands down a judgment favoring both parties, sort of: the show — specifically, Woodstock 50 — can still go on, technically, but Dentsu Aegis isn’t responsible for returning the alleged funds that Lang claimed were illegally removed from the fest’s account. “We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place,” Lang says in a statement, despite still not officially acquiring new investors — or money — to ensure the festival can continue as planned. “I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”
May 17, 2019: Investment bank and financial-services firm Oppenheimer & Co. comes aboard to “complete the financing for the festival,” a vague statement that doesn’t confirm whether the festival will be fully funded or eventually acquire the mass-gathering permit required to, y’know, sell tickets. “We are thrilled to be onboard for this incredible weekend of music and social engagement,” a press release from the firm reads — which, yeah, we’ll believe it when we see it.
May 22, 2019: And it doesn’t even look like the new blood has improved Woodstock 50’s financial status: Lang files an appeal against the previous ruling in favor of Dentsu, demanding that the company return the remainder of the funds they allegedly removed from the festival’s bank account. Kasowitz’s filed appeal seeks “a preliminary injunction in aid of arbitration requiring (Dentsu) to return $18 million withdrawn from a dedicated festival account and allowing Petitioner to use those funds for appropriate expenses.” Until a five-judge panel rules on the appeal, Dentsu Aegis is ordered to place the $18 million in escrow; they’re given until Friday, May 24, to deposit the money.
Yeah, Back … to Square One
June 11, 2019: After a few weeks of quiet on the news cycle, Woodstock 50 faces its most substantial setback to date: Watkins Glen announces that it’s terminated the festival’s site license, leaving Woodstock 50 essentially without a location or venue to hold the festival. To make matters worse, CID Entertainment pulls out of its agreement to produce the fest, and the Department of Health rescinds its permit application. Sounds like there’s definitely no way Woodstock 50 is happening, right? Once again, not according to the festival. “We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16-18,” festival principal Gregory Peck insists in a statement, adding that the fest “[looks] forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks.” Uh, we look forward to it, too?
June 13, 2019: More details emerge on how Woodstock 50 lost Watkins Glen as the festival site — specifically, because they couldn’t pony up the dough. Billboard reports that the speedway’s president Michael Printup made several attempts to procure a $150,000 payment that was due on May 15, and Woodstock 50 failed to pay up in the end.
Here We Go Again
June 25, 2019: Suddenly, Woodstock 50 — if it happens at all — is looking a lot smaller than anticipated: Town of Vernon supervisor Randy Watson tells the Poughkeepsie Journal that the organizers have submitted a permit application at the Vernon Downs racetrack. Kasowitz provides a separate statement to the paper that “Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning of the festival and looks forward to holding the festival at another venue with its new partners.” Capacity would now be at 45,000 to 50,000, down from the much bigger 150,000 attendance goal the festival originally had in mind.
All those who believe in psychokenesis raise my hand........