Published May 15, 2019Woodstock 50 has been given the legal go-ahed to proceed this summer despite its chief financier Dentsu Aegis Network announcing the event was cancelled.
A New York judge made the ruling this afternoon, stating that Dentsu had no right to announce the festival's cancellation in April. However, this only marks a partial victory for Woodstock 50 organizers, as the judge ruled Dentsu did not have to return $17.8 million USD in funding to the festival's bank account, as demanded by Woodstock 50 LLC.
According to the judge, Woodstock 50 "has not met the high burden entitling it to a mandatory injunction" demanding the return of that funding.
Despite this only marking a partial victory, organizers sent out a press release stating the festival will go forward.
In a newly released statement, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang said, "We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place. 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."
Woodstock 50 lawyer Marc Kasowitz added, "We are gratified that Justice Ostrager has ruled unequivocally that Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the Festival, and is immediately enjoined from cancelling the Festival. Today's order is an important victory that means the show will go on for the fans, the talent, and the world, which was and remains Woodstock 50's mission."
UPDATE (5/16, 5:15 p.m. EDT): Woodstock lawyer Marc Kasowitz has issued a new statement, following comments Dentsu made to the media following the court decision. The statement reads as follows: "In its public statements, Dentsu has shown utter contempt for the Court's decision, and continues to show utter contempt for the Woodstock 50 Festival. The Court unambiguously ruled that Dentsu had no right to try to assert control over the Festival in Dentsu's efforts to cancel it. Indeed, Dentsu and its affiliated companies are explicitly enjoined from suggesting that there has been a cancellation or interfering with any of the Festival stakeholders. Nevertheless, Dentsu has decided to disregard the Court's clear directive and suggest that it still has the right to kill the Festival. Dentsu is dead wrong and Woodstock 50 is proceeding as planned.''
As previously reported, Woodstock 50 organizers stated they were blindsided by the sudden cancellation announcement by Dentsu, saying the company aimed to "sabotage" the event.
"W50 [Woodstock 50, LLC] was blindsided by Dentsu's announcement, and shocked and outraged that Dentsu claimed the right to unilaterally cancel the Festival — an action that is expressly barred by its Agreement with W50," organizers' original complaint read. "Dentsu's sabotage did not stop with its unauthorized and improper cancellation announcement. Dentsu also pillaged the Festival bank account on its way out, taking all of the $17.8 million in the account earmarked for Festival production costs."
In response to Woodstock's request for an injunction, however, Dentsu lawyer Marc L. Greenwald wrote, "Woodstock 50 LLC's and Michael Lang's 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."
As of press time, no tickets for Woodstock 50 have gone on sale, even though the event has been scheduled to run from August 16 to 18 at Watkins Glen, NY. Woodstock 50 was also reportedly looking to secure $30 million USD in additional funding to produce the festival, but so far it's unclear if the festival has succeeded in raising those funds.