Woodstock 50 Organizer Michael Lang Insists the Festival "Will Take Place and Will Be a Blast"

He claims the funding company doesn't "have a right to cancel it"
Woodstock 50 Organizer Michael Lang Insists the Festival "Will Take Place and Will Be a Blast"
Yesterday (April 29), the Woodstock 50 anniversary festival was thrown into disarray after the event's financial backer said the entire event would be cancelled — a claim organizers then quickly denied. Now original Woodstock co-creator Michael Lang has issued a lengthy new statement vowing that the show will indeed go on.

In a newsletter sent to those who registered to receive festival updates, Lang wrote about continued efforts to work with New York State, Schuyler County, the Watkins Glen International venue and "various parties" to ensure the fest comes together.

In reference to yesterday's headlines, he wrote, "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, officials with festival funders Dentsu Aegis Network announced the apparent cancellation in a statement, writing, "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." 

The company went on to say that cancelling the festival "is the most prudent decision for all parties involved." 

Woodstock 50 organizers then released a statement in response, writing, "Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners."

"We continue our work with NYS, Schuyler County and various parties to keep things on track," Lang's newsletter message concluded. "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!"

You can read the entirety of Lang's newsletter message below. Tickets for the festival — which boasted the Killers, JAY-Z, Santana, the Ranconteurs and Imagine Dragons in its lineup — have yet to go on sale.

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