Despite major uncertainty and confusion in the Woodstock camp, the festival’s highly controversial 50th-anniversary extravaganza is still scheduled to go on.
Unfortunately for fans, however, tickets have not yet gone on sale, meaning there may be no audience whatsoever come Aug. 16.
It’s currently unclear why this is the case, but many have speculated that it’s because the venue, Watkins Glen, has not been approved for a mass gathering permit by New York’s Department of Health.
The 74-year-old claimed the company tried to “suffocate and kill Woodstock” in a five-page letter addressed to Dentsu, as reported by Pitchfork.
On Monday, April 29, Dentsu announced that the festival was cancelled — “which they had no legal right to do,” according to Lang, who shortly afterwards refuted the company’s claim.
“The bottom line is there is going to be a Woodstock 50th-anniversary festival, as there must be, and it’s going to be a blast,” he said, according to Reuters.
Lang has continued to publicly assure Woodstock fans that the “show will go on,” however things are not working in his favour. This back-and-forth uncertainty has left potential concertgoers disappointed and rather suspicious.
“While we were on a call together as a group, the media had already begun reporting that Woodstock was cancelled,” wrote Lang in the letter addressed to the investor.
“I learned that Amplifi (owned by Dentsu) illegally swept approximately (US)$17 million from the festival bank account, leaving (Woodstock) in peril,” he added.
Lang further accused the Japanese multinational media company of “directly (contacting) all stakeholders, including Watkins Glen International, insurance companies, producers, vendors and performers — some of whom (he considers himself) lucky to count as personal friends — and suggested they not do business with (him).”
He further pointed his finger at company representatives who he believes suggested that certain musicians and bands drop out of Woodstock for a spot in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, for which Dentsu will reportedly organize entertainment-based events.
“These actions confirmed my worst concerns about partnering with your company,” continued Lang. “These actions are neither a legal nor honourable way to do business.”
Dentsu responded to Lang’s open letter on Tuesday afternoon, according to Rolling Stone. The company admitted to taking the $17 million but claimed they were “simply recovering the funds (they) originally put in as financial partner.”
“We had the customary rights one would expect to protect a large investment,” claimed a company spokesperson. “After we exercised our contractual right to take over and subsequently cancel the festival, we simply recovered the funds in the festival bank account … funds which we originally put in as financial partner.”
The spokesperson continued: “Further, tickets cannot go on sale for an event prior to obtaining a mass gathering permit, which has still not been granted. Beyond that, we stand by (our) original statement made last week.”
As of this writing, Lang has not responded to Dentsu in regards to its latest statement.
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