Potential new venue for Woodstock 50 revealed

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered festival?

A potential new venue for Woodstock 50, the 50th anniversary commemoration of the iconic 1969 festival, has been revealed.

Woodstock 50 has 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 last month.

The festival and Vernon Downs were expected to sign an agreement on Monday (June 24), according to a report by the Poughkeepsie Journal. “The ball is in their court. We’d like to see it happen. It would be good for the state and good for the area,” said Jeff Gural, a managing member of American Racing and Entertainment, the company that owns Vernon Downs.

In an interview with Rolling Stone published yesterday (June 25), Michael Lang, co-creator of the original Woodstock festival and the lead organiser of Woodstock 50, didn’t deny reports that they had applied for a permit for Vernon Downs. But he did say that it was only one of “three or four” possible venues. “It will all become clear in a few days,” he continued.

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. In his latest conversation with Rolling Stone, he doubled down on that claim. “I am not gearing up for [a potential collapse],” he said. “That’s not how I approach things anyway. I’m kind of an optimist. And yes, it definitely helps in this case.”

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.