New York official speaks out about “logistical hurdles” to ensure public safety at Woodstock 50

With just a month left to go, the festival is still working to secure a new venue

Last week, it was revealed that Woodstock 50 is working to secure a new venue for the festival: Vernon Downs, which is located in Oneida County in upstate New York. Now, with a month to go, a local official has expressed concern over the “short time frame” in which the festival is expected to come together.

The 50th-anniversary commemoration of the legendary 1969 festival is due to take place from August 16 to 18. According to Poughkeepsie Journal report published two days ago (July 3), Oneida County executive Anthony J Picente, Jr. said in a statement: “With the event just a little over a month away, we have been asked to prepare in just days what has failed to get done in over a year of negotiations and preparations at the previous location.”

“With such a short time frame, the logistical hurdles to ensure the public health and safety of the concertgoers and the surrounding community could pose a significant challenge,” he added. In light of the hundreds of thousands that turned out for the original 1969 festival, “our first and foremost concern is for the safety and welfare of Oneida County residents”, Picente said.

Woodstock 50 was expected to sign an agreement with Vernon Downs last Monday (June 24). But the festival has not officially announced a new location, nor has its state permit been approved, the Poughkeepsie Journal reported. As of last week, Woodstock 50 had not contacted bands playing the festival to update them on a new venue either, according to Billboard.

Vernon Downs features a ‘racino’, or a combined racing track and casino, as well as a hotel and horse racing track. Last week, a managing member of Vernon Downs’ parent company American Racing and Entertainment expressed hopes that Woodstock 50 would be held there: “We’d like to see it happen. It would be good for the state and good for the area.”

The line-up of artists announced for Woodstock 50 includes The Killers, Miley Cyrus, Santana, Chance the Rapper, Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons and Halsey.