Michael Lang, the original promoter of the 1969 Woodstock Festival announced the lineup for Woodstock 50 Tuesday at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.
Patrick Oehler, Poughkeepsie Journal
Will the festival go on? Woodstock 50 wants their former financial partner to stick to its contract to stage the festival, according to a lawsuit.
The fate of Woodstock 50 is in the hands of a judge, with a state Supreme Court hearing scheduled for Monday and orders from the bench that the festival’s former financial partner refrain from speaking about the proposed anniversary concert.
Judge Barry R. Ostrager of state Supreme Court in Manhattan has ordered representatives of Dentsu Aegis and its Amplifi Live division to appear in court at 2:15 Monday. Ostrager at that time will consider Woodstock 50’s request for a preliminary injunction against its former business partners, in support of arbitration.
The hearing is the latest development in the battle between Woodstock 50 and Dentsu over the proposed festival set for Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen.
It’s all fueling drama in advance of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock festival, which was held Aug. 15-18, 1969, and is considered by many to be the crowning achievement of the 1960s counterculture.
In court papers filed Wednesday night, Woodstock 50 demanded that Dentsu return nearly $17.8 million “in misappropriated” funds from the festival bank account, and provide access to the cash.
Woodstock 50: What has gone wrong and how it could still happen
Woodstock 50 also demanded that Dentsu stick to its contract to stage the festival.
Ostrager on Thursday agreed to one of Woodstock 50’s demands, if only temporarily.
He said in court papers that Dentsu must temporarily refrain from all festival-related communications with the media and stakeholders, including state and county officials; venue operators; local vendors; community representatives; insurers; producers; talent agencies and performers.
“We are grateful for the judge’s order, which prevents Dentsu and Amplifi from continuing their baseless attack on the Woodstock festival and its owners, and we look forward to procuring additional relief on Monday,” Woodstock 50 attorney Marc Kasowitz said Thursday evening.
Michael Lang, the co-founder and co-producer of the 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, is working to stage Woodstock 50 with dozens of acts, including Jay-Z, Dead and Company, Common, Santana, Miley Cyrus and the Lumineers.
The gathering initially targeted a crowd of 150,000, but that was cut in half. And tickets were supposed to go on sale April 22, but that has been postponed indefinitely while Woodstock 50 secures a temporary mass-gathering permit from the state Department of Health.
The concert would mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock festival, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to Sullivan County, New York, for musical performances by such acts as Jimi Hendix, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Who.
Dentsu on April 29 withdrew its support for Woodstock 50 and canceled the festival.
“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,” read a statement from Amplifi Live.
Lang fired back that Dentsu had no right to cancel the gathering and he has been steadfast with his pledge to proceed with staging Woodstock 50.
After Dentsu withdrew on April 29, Woodstock 50 production company Superfly dropped out on May 1. On May 2, Lang alleged Woodstock 50 computers had been hacked. On May 3, Woodstock 50 posted on www.woodstock.com some of the 100,000 messages of support it said were received in the wake of the week’s developments.
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