Woodstock 50 co-founder reportedly claims investors “illegally swept” $17 million from accounts and asked acts to drop out

"Dentsu has acted not only without honor, but outside of the law.”

Woodstock co-founder and Woodstock 50 organiser Michael Lang

Woodstock 50 co-founder Michael Lang has claimed that investors have “illegally swept” millions from the festival’s accounts, while allegedly advising artists to cancel their scheduled appearances.

The event, which intends to celebrate 50 years since Woodstock’s iconic 1969 festival, was plunged into turmoil last month after its primary funding partner Dentsu Aegis Network withdrew its financial commitment and announced the “cancellation” of Woodstock 50. 

Later, organisers issued a statement to deny it had been shelved. Lang, the promoter of Woodstock 50 and one of the lead organisers of the 1969 event, also told The New York Times that Dentsu “do not have the right to unilaterally cancel the festival.”


Now, Lang has reportedly sent a five-page letter to Dentsu accusing them of having “illegally swept approximately $17 million from the festival bank account”. The document, obtained by Pitchfork, also sees Lang claim that the company were responsible for blocking the sales of tickets – alleging that Dentsu had advised artists, vendors, and more to cut ties with Woodstock 50.

Woodstock, 1969

“We also have evidence that Dentsu representatives have gone so far as to say that should the talent back out of Woodstock, they would be seen favourably by Dentsu and that this could result in [them] performing [at] the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where Dentsu is a major organizer,” claimed Lang.

“In these actions too, Dentsu has acted not only without honor, but outside of the law.”

Lang went on to state that Woodstock 50 will still go ahead, adding that they have secured “renewed interest in financing”. With the festival apparently still on, Lang has asked Dentsu to stop interfering with plans and return the $17 million.

Woodstock promoter Michael Lang

Lang said: “It is one thing if your company, Dentsu, wanted to back out of its commitment to Woodstock because it would not make as much money as it had hoped, but to try to suffocate and kill Woodstock so that we could not have a festival for our Golden Anniversary without you is puzzling for any company, let alone one that claims reform.”

NME has contacted Dentsu Aegis Network for comment.

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.