Woodstock’s troubled 50th anniversary festival could still go ahead, after a judge in New York’s Supreme Court ruled that the event’s chief financier doesn’t have the authority to cancel the event.
The festival’s chief financial backer, Dentsu Aegis Network, made headlines last month after withdrawing its financial commitment and announcing the “cancellation” of Woodstock 50.
But the anniversary could still go ahead after the judge sided with promoter Michael Lang, who previously told The New York Times that Dentsu “do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival.”
However, it still remains to be seen whether the necessary funds will be secured for the event. In his ruling, Judge Barry R. Ostrager said Densu is not obliged to return the $17.8 million dollars it withdrew from the festival’s shared bank account prior to announcing its cancelation.
Ostrager also claimed that Woodstock 50 “falls woefully short of making the heightened showing necessary to warrant a mandatory injunction ordering [Dentsu] to return $17.8 million to the festival bank account and to provide W50 with access to the funds in the account.”
Now, Lang will need to find a new funding source with limited time. He previously claimed he needed to raise $30 million and set a provisional deadline for last Friday. It’s currently unclear whether Lang has yet secured the funds, although Live Nation and AEG have both turned down Lang’s approaches.
Responding to the latest ruling, Lang remained confident that the festival would still go ahead.
“We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place,” Lang said in a statement.
“I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”
Festival organiser Gregory Peck added: “Woodstock 50 is on. We can’t wait to bring this important event to the public this summer. We have one of the greatest lineups of talent of any music festival, and we are grateful to all of the talent for their loyalty and support.”
There had been lingering doubts about the festival in recent weeks, with ticket sales being postponed and The Black Keys deciding to pull out of their slot. This line-up for this year’s festival features the likes of Jay-Z, The Killers, Miley Cyrus and Halsey. It is due to take place from August 16-18 in Watkins Glen, New York.
Earlier this week, a sprawling boxset featuring all 433 songs performed at the original Woodstock Festival in 1969 was also announced.