With throngs of people looking forward to the 50th anniversary of Woodstock that never took place, the failed festival’s co-founder Michael Lang pursued the event’s financiers for damages.
According to an arbitration panel ruling made three months ago, the Japanese-owned advertising firm Dentsu (that pledged $49 million to stage the Woodstock 50 anniversary festival in 2019 before calling it off) allegedly breached its deal with event organizers. As a result, the Asian advert agency has agreed to pay an undisclosed settlement sum covering damages only but no unrealized profits.
The settlement, which came after two legal battles and a confidential arbitration hearing, resolves all outstanding claims against Dentsu and its investment arm Amplifi. In April 2019, Woodstock 50 organizers including co-founder Michael Lang accused Dentsu and Amplifi of sabotaging the anniversary event and spreading misinformation to prevent them from holding the show at a different site.
Revisiting what was to come in 2019, by the time the Woodstock 50 festival lineup had been announced with top-tier headliners Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, The Killers and Dead & Co., along with Santana and John Fogerty, the relationship between the parties was significantly strained. With monies sent and withdrawn, and the entities arguing over logistics and artists dropping out daily, the 50th anniversary show never happened.
In addition to the above, pandemic-related circumstances complicate the future of a Woodstock anniversary.
Photo: Derek Redmond