The continuing drama surrounding the Woodstock 50 festival has taken yet another turn as a New York Supreme Court justice ruled that Dentsu, the Japanese company that initially invested, then withdrew funding for the event, did not have the right to officially cancel the fest.
In a 10-page ruling, Justice Barry Ostrager stated that the festival was no longer canceled, but also determined that Denstu will not have to return the $18 million it withdrew from a bank account it shared with the Woodstock 50 group.
Organizers behind the festival celebrated the ruling as a win. “Woodstock 50 is on! We can’t wait to bring this important event to the public this summer,” managing member Gregory Peck proclaimed via statement. Festival founder Michael Lang echoed those sentiments, saying “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.”
Despite the legal victory, the judge’s decision leaves Woodstock 50 in a precarious position. Though the festival can move forward as scheduled, something Lang has repeatedly stated he intends to do, the organizers have temporarily run out of money to fund the anniversary celebration. This comes on the heels of a report that the festival’s performers are no longer contractually obligated to appear at the event. Further court filings have also painted Lang as a man who went rouge, attempting to circumvent partners from Dentsu and Superfly on issues including site capacity and the booking of performers.
Woodstock 50 will need to quickly find proper financial backing, secure a guaranteed lineup of artists and acquire the permits required to host the 75,000-person event if it is to come together in time for its originally planned Aug. 16-18 dates.