Woodstock 50 has been denied a permit for a new venue

Problems continue for the beleaguered festival

Organisers of Woodstock 50, the 50th anniversary commemoration of the iconic 1969 festival, have been denied a permit for a new venue.

Last month, organisers applied for a permit to hold the event at Vernon Downs in upstate New York, east of Syracuse. The site features a ‘racino’ – a combined racing track and casino – as well as a hotel and a horse racing track. The initial venue for Woodstock 50, Watkins Glen International raceway, pulled out of the festival in May.

The new permit has now been denied, reports Variety.  According to Oneida County Administrator Anthony Picente Jr., the promoters have five days to appeal the decision, but “what they have submitted to date has not met many of the requirements.” He added that the likelihood of the festival happening is “highly unlikely.”


Asked about the likelihood that the festival could be staged at Vernon Downs, Picentre added that “anything is possible,” but noted, “We could have done this with a year or 16 months advance [planning], but to do it in three to six weeks is really a near impossibility from a public safety and health standpoint. As someone who was here for 1999 [Woodstock], some names have changed but it’s largely the same situation.”

Michael Lang, co-creator of the original Woodstock festival and the lead organiser of Woodstock 50, previously said Vernon Downs was only one of “three or four” possible venues.

Woodstock 50 has suffered a series of blows in the months leading up to the festival. In April, it lost its primary funding partner, Dentsu Aegis Network, and one of its headliners, The Black Keys.

Although cancellation rumours were rife, the festival managed to secure a new investor in Oppenheimer & Co., and Lang insisted that Woodstock 50 would still go ahead.

Woodstock 50 is due to take place from August 16 to 18. Its line-up features The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons and Halsey.

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