Woodstock 50: “we don’t give up,” says co-founder Michael Lang
Original Woodstock co-founder and one of the organizers of the troubled Woodstock 50, Michael Lang, “vehemently denied” yesterday’s news, from financer Dentsu Aegis Network, that the festival was cancelled. “Although our financial partner is withdrawing,” he said, “we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners.” Now he’s released a more lengthy statement, which you can read below:
Dear Woodstock Friends
It seems in a way that history is repeating itself. In July of 1969 we lost our site in Walkill and with only a month to go we managed to move to Bethel. Woodstock was going to happen no matter what!
This time around, Woodstock’s new hometown, Dix & Watkins Glen, NY and New York State have been really wonderful. I went door to door to talk to the neighbors. Some remembered Summer Jam back in ’73 and were worried about history repeating itself. But they opened their doors to us and we talked it out. Many of those people have reached out over the last 24 hours with messages of hope and encouragement.
The venue, Watkins Glen International, have been totally supportive and professional.
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.
Yesterday, I couldn’t help but relive that moment 50 years ago – it was “ déjà vu all over again”!
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.
We don’t give up and Woodstock 50 will take place and will be a blast!
Thanks for Listening, Michael
Officials in Schuyler County, NY had said they were “disappointed” in festival’s cancellation, and that it would represent “a huge economic loss for the county.”
John Fogerty, who was scheduled to perform at Woodstock 50 on Friday in addition to a Bethel Woods Center for the Arts Woodstock anniversary weekend show on Sunday (8/18), spoke about the possible cancellation with Rolling Stone. “They postponed announcing the tickets,” he said, “and I remember reading a while ago that they didn’t have some of the permits. That just blew my mind. You’d think it would be the first thing you’d do and not the last thing. You got the sense there was some shakiness to this whole thing. But the first Woodstock happened more by people wishing for it to happen than any effort of great organization.”
If Woodstock 50 is indeed cancelled, John plans to donate his advance to what he told Rolling Stone is his “favorite cause”: military veterans. “I’m from old-fashioned America,” he said. “I hate to be paid for doing nothing. So I would imagine donating it to a good cause. That would be the best use of the funds.”