In a rare case of The Man defending music, Woodstock 50 is back on. Judge Barry Ostrager of the Supreme Court of New York, public defender of rock ‘n’ roll, ruled Wednesday that an ex-investor does not have the sole power to cancel the festival’s 50th anniversary celebration.
At the same time, Ostrager declined to order the financial stakeholders to re-invest roughly $18 million into the celebration, forcing the remaining investors to find the necessary funds.
Dentsu Aegis Network subsidiary Amplifi Live, the investor that announced the cancellation of Woodstock 50 on April 29, asserted that the festival organizers had done little to ensure the effective rollout of August’s celebration. Meanwhile, Woodstock 50 LLC insisted that the show must go on, suggesting that Amplifi was undermining the festival in a bid to reclaim their $18 million and filing a request with the court for a temporary restraining order.
The financial dispute, set for arbitration at a later date, puts Woodstock 50 in a peculiar position: With festival dates rapidly approaching, headliners dropping out and no means of purchasing tickets, Woodstock 50 seems poised for failure. Yet so did the original festival, which required two last-minute venue changes, saw several no-show artists and was flooded with people who didn’t purchase tickets. Maybe, just maybe, this is how the investors and courts are choosing to celebrate Woodstock’s 50th anniversary.
“We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place,” said producer Michael Lang in a statement. “I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”
Woodstock 50, which is set to feature headliners The Killers, Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Santana, Robert Plant and The Sensational Space Shifters, and David Crosby and Friends, among many others, is still scheduled for Aug. 16-18.