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Woodstock organizer says embattled festival still on


Agence France-Presse

New York, United States  /  Wed, May 1, 2019  /  04:31 pm
Woodstock organizer says embattled festival still on

Crowd in front of the main stage on opening day of the 25th anniversary of Woodstock music festival in Saugerties, New York, US, on August 12, 1994. (Shutterstock/mark reinstein)

The promoter behind the largest festival marking Woodstock's 50th anniversary insisted Tuesday that the show would go on, one day after the event's principal financier backed out and said it was canceled.

Michael Lang, a brain behind 1969's iconic weekend, said organizers were continuing to work with local authorities to "keep things on track" for the festival slated for August 16-18 in upstate New York.

"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," Lang said in a statement, referring to the Japanese-owned company whose London-based investment firm Amplifi Live had one day prior said this summer's festival wouldn't happen.

"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."

"Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don't have a right to cancel it," Lang continued.

Read also: Woodstock 50 fest under threat as investor pulls out

"We don't give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!"

Amplifi Live on Monday said it would "cancel" the festival, saying that "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."

Woodstock 50 organizers have said contemporary heavyweights including Jay-Z along with veteran acts like Santana are to play the anniversary weekend at upstate New York's Watkins Glen International site, 250 kilometers from the original spot.

Last week ticket sales were postponed for the festival to "refine logistical plans," while a report from industry insider Billboard cited concerns over capacity -- some 100,000 festival-goers were anticipated -- site readiness and permit snags.

According to Billboard, Amplifi Live has already invested some $30 million on the star-studded line-up.