Court Rules In Favor Of Woodstock 50, Organizers Say Festival "Is On!"

By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta

May 16, 2019

Woodstock 50 has won a key court ruling in its fight for survival after its former investor (perhaps mistakenly) declared the show would not go on.

Organizers celebrated the Wednesday ruling, with festival principal Gregory Peck declaring in a statement that "Woodstock 50 is on!"

The 50th anniversary celebration is set to take place August 16 - 18 in Watkins Glen, New York.

The bad news is that the judge did not order festival financier Dentsu to return the $17.8 million it recently drained from Woodstock's accounts, as the festival demanded.

Rumors of challenges in planning were all but confirmed in late-April when Dentsu announced it was pulling its funds and its support and canceling the festival.

The festival organizers, including co-founder Michael Lang, later shot back saying they would simply find new investors and proceed as scheduled.

Lang hired a high-powered law firm to defend Woodstock and, in a lengthy letter, accused the Japanese firm of several illegal acts and of trying to undermine the festival once it learned Woodstock 50 would not earn as much money as it hoped.

Lang says he was wary about entering in a partnership with a corporation like Dentsu in the first place, and his fears were all but confirmed by the company's actions.

He maintains Woodstock 50 will be an "inspiring festival experience" this summer.

But Dentsu also spun the ruling as a victory on its end, saying it was "vindicated" in its right to recoup the $17.8 million from the Woodstock 50 accounts. The firm said the court agreed there were problems on the Woodstock LLC side that gave it cause to withdraw, and it will do just that.

The judge's order indicates Woodstock 50 can continue if it wants, but it doesn't have much reason for optimism given the timetable.

The festival organizers are presenting a unified front anyway. Some would say they've been here before.

John Fogerty pointed out in an interview earlier this month that "the first Woodstock happened more by people wishing for it to happen than any effort of great organization."

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