WATKINS GLEN, NY (CelebrityAccess) — After financial backers Dentsu Aegis Network announced that it was dropping out of its role in the Woodstock 50 Festival, the fate of the event appeared to be a foregone conclusion. But that hasn’t stopped organizer Michael Lang, who insists that the event will take place and be “be a blast.”
While Lang may stage an event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music & Arts Fair this summer, it likely won’t look anything like the festival that was originally billed.
The festival, which was scheduled to take place on August 16-18 at Watkins Glen in upstate New York, featured a lineup heavy on star power, with headliners Jay-Z, Dead & Co, Miley Cyrus, and The Killers among numerous others.
However, it appears increasingly likely that without a miracle, those artists will all be doing other things that weekend.
Billboard’s Dave Brooks reported on Wednesday, that agents at two major talent agencies representing artists booked for the events said that Dentsu’s decision to back away from the festival effectively voided any performance contracts for artists booked for the festival.
Agents also indicated to Billboard that they were unwilling to sign new contracts with Lang until “every permit is secured” and Lang presents a plan to convince the public to buy tickets to the event in rural upstate New York, at a location lacking infrastructure to support of an event of the scale of the proposed festival.
Brooks also reported that the festival’s name may be in play, and while Lang and Woodstock Ventures owns the Woodstock name, the Woodstock 50 festival was owned by a separate LLC, Woodstock 50, which the ownership of is unclear. As Brooks noted, Lang has stopped using the ‘Woodstock 50’ name in statements about the festival.
In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, Lang conceded that the loss of Dentsu’s financial backing was a blow for the festival and that the festival still had not fully secured permits.
“We need to replace [Dentsu] financially. Frankly, I think it will be a much easier process going forward, because all that baggage gets left behind. We are a few days away from permits; we are in talks with investors who are anxious to come in,” Lang said.
Lang also addressed the issue of the public perception of instability for the festival and said the key to getting potential ticketbuyers to embrace the event was to get tickets on sale.
“The best way to overcome that is for us to get on sale, and that’s the objective now. The talent has been solid for a couple of months now. They’ve been completely paid,” Lang told the Times.
“I know that in this day and age when things are so buttoned down, and the industry is so buttoned down, this is kind of an oddity. But things happen when you are committed and have a purpose, and we are getting a lot of heartfelt support out there,” he added.