Woodstock 50 Organizer Hires Trump's Former Russia Probe Attorney
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
May 2, 2019
Woodstock festival co-creator Michael Lang raised eyebrows Thursday when it was revealed he had hired President Donald Trump's former attorney Marc Kasowitz to help him defend his struggling 50th anniversary festival.
After news broke Monday that Woodstock 50's largest investor, Dentsu Aegis Network, had pulled out of the venture, and reports began circulating that the festival was cancelled, Lang began pushing back. Lang responded to reports of Woodstock 50's demise on Tuesday, saying he would find new partners to make the festival a reality.
But as the narrative continued to slip out of control, Lang lawyered up, hiring Kasowitz — of New York-based law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres — who previously represented Trump in the Russia probe led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
"Both those statements are untrue," read the attorney's message, as reported by Billboard. "The artists' agreements are with Woodstock 50 LLC and the festival has not been canceled and preparations are continuing."
But agents for some of the festival's headliners disagree, potentially signaling litigation is on the horizon between Woodstock 50 and its former financiers.
"First, no one from Lang's office or Woodstock 50 has called us to let us know what is going on," one agent reportedly told Billboard. "Second, our contract was with [Dentsu Aegis Network's holding company] Amplifi Live, not with Woodstock 50."
Dentsu's divestment from Woodstock 50 reportedly stemmed from the revelation that the proposed festival site cannot accommodate its expected audience and that Woodstock 50 lacked the permits to hold the festival. One talent agent said the lack of permits amounted to a breach of contract on Woodstock 50's part.
Many, if not all, of Woodstock 50's performers have been paid in advance, a common practice for festivals of this kind. Should the festival not take place, the artists would not be required to return the money.
As one of a handful of original Woodstock festival performers invited back for Woodstock 50, John Fogerty recently suggested that there was reason to be optimistic that the 50th anniversary will go over as planned.
But for those rooting for Lang, it's difficult to reconcile his business with Trump's lawyer with the festival's famous liberal ideology and its "Three Days of Peace and Music" slogan.
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