Woodstock 50 loses venue & producer, still plans to move ahead
The last we heard from the troubled Woodstock 50 was nearly a month ago, when organizers found a new investor and remained optimistic about the festival's prospects. Tickets still haven't gone on sale for the festival, which is set to happen August 16-18, nor has an on-sale date been announced, and now it has suffered yet another blow: Poughkeepsie Journal reports that venue Watkins Glen International will no longer host Woodstock 50. A statement released Monday afternoon from the venue reads, "Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival."
Schuyler County Administrator Tim O'Hearn told Poughkeepsie Journal that the venue's decision "comes as a major disappointment to us in that we looked forward to hosting this iconic event in our community." O'Hearn continued, "while today’s announcement is difficult to absorb, it is not completely unexpected, given the well-publicized delays related to this planned event. We commend Watkins Glen International for their actions, which we feel are in the overall best interest of the community."
UPDATE: Billboard reports that CID Entertainment, who was to take over production after first producer Superfly pulled out, has also stepped down from involvement with the festival. "CID Entertainment had been engaged to provide enhanced camping, travel packages and transportation for Woodstock 50. Given developments, we can confirm that CID is no longer involved in Woodstock 50 in any capacity," CID Entertainment's Dan Berkowitz told Billboard in a statement.
Following these developments, the New York Department of Health told Billboard, in a statement, "the Department has received a statement from Watkins Glen International that they intend to rescind their application for a mass gathering permit for Woodstock 50."
Incredibly, after all this, Woodstock organizers still intend to move ahead with the festival. "We confirm that we will not be moving forward with Watkins Glen as a venue for Woodstock 50," they say in a statement. "We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th—18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks."
On May 15, State Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager ruled that while Woodstock 50's former financial partner Dentsu Aegis Network didn't have the right to cancel the festival, the $17 million organizers claimed was "illegally swept" from festival bank accounts by Dentsu wouldn't be returned. Woodstock 50 appealed the decision, and the disputed money was ordered to be put in escrow until a decision is reached, WETM reports. That decision is still forthcoming.