Woodstock 50: Financial backers had "no legal right" to try and cancel festival

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Yesterday it was reported that Woodstock 50 had been cancelled by financial backers Dentsu-Aegis, only for organisers to say they were committed to putting the festival on.

Pulling their support, Dentsu-Aegis said they didn’t believe the production of the festival could 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 LLC refuted this, saying they would be “continuing with the planning of the festival" and intended to bring in new partners.

Now, festival lawyers have issued a statement to Rolling Stone, insisting that Dentsu-Aegis had “no legal right or ability” to try and cancel the event, which will be held at the Watkins Glen International Raceway in New York on August 16-18.

Legal counsel for Woodstock 50, Marc Kasowitz, said: “This confirms that Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning and production of the festival. Dentsu has no legal right or ability to cancel it. 

“All stakeholders, including the entertainers, should proceed with the understanding that the event will take place as planned and if they have any questions, they should reach out directly.”

That statement was echoed by Michael Lang – the co-founder of the original 1969 festival who is also behind this year’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will

Woodstock organiser Michael Lang

In a newsletter to fans, he said: “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.

“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.”

Tickets for Woodstock were due to go on sale on April 22 but at the time of writing, are still not available.

Artists including Robert Plant And The Sensational Space Shifters, Greta Van Fleet, Santana, David Crosby And Friends, The Raconteurs, The Killers, Rival Sons, The Zombies and Gary Clark Jr will also take part in Woodstock 50.