The troubled Woodstock 50 event may have finally reached the end of the line. According to reports shared on Tuesday, organizers for the proposed event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock Music & Arts Festival were denied a permit to hold the festival at the latest proposed site–Vernon Downs in Vernon, NY.
According to the report, which was confirmed by Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr, Woodstock 50 organizers filed the application to host their event at Vernon Downs well after the required 120-day deadline. This comes after Watkins Glen International terminated the site license for the event in early June. Woodstock promoters will supposedly appeal the decision if they haven’t already, although the report goes on to state that Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang and his new financial backers have not met many of the requirements needed to host the festival at their new proposed location.
“It’s been chaotic,” Picente told Variety in a statement. “Originally it was going to be a three-day festival, but then [the producers] said instead it would be three one-day events, with all 65,000 or however many people vacating the grounds at the end of each day.”
Picente continued in adding, “We could have done this with a year or 16 months advance [planning], but to do it in three to six weeks is really a near impossibility from a public safety and health standpoint. As someone who as here for [Woodstock] 1999 some names have changed but it’s largely the same situation.”
Representatives for Woodstock 50 have since responded with their own statement below.
“In response to the denial of an event permit by the Town of Vernon, Woodstock 50 believes certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the Festival. Local reports claim Woodstock’s filing for the permit was ‘incomplete’ but that is not the case. Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the Town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did. With a venue chosen, financing assembled and many of the artist’s supporting Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary event, the organizers are hopeful that their appeal and reapplication tonight will prevail without further political interference.”
Woodstock 50 LLC President Greg Peck also shared the following statement:
“We understand the public safety and traffic concerns of the local community. We have been working diligently over the last several weeks to secure the permits needed to hold the festival, and will continue to work with Law Enforcement and Public Safety Officials to present a cohesive safety and traffic plan that will be satisfactory in addressing the concerns. We appreciate the honest feedback from the Town of Vernon and will continue to address their comments as we enter the final planning phases for Woodstock 50. We are confident that this careful planning and consideration of community concerns will result in a safe, world-class Festival.’’
While Woodstock 50 organizers have yet to cancel the event, which is still (technically) scheduled to take place on August 16th-18th, some of the scheduled performers including Dead & Company guitarist John Mayer have shared comments on the mystery surrounding whether the event will still take place or not. With event producers now without their backup location, it looks like the sun is finally setting on the event which Lang and company have had two decades to plan since the last anniversary disaster in 1999.
On Wednesday, Woodstock announced that Lang will appear in conversation with Woodstock’s official photographer Henry Diltz at Rizzoli Bookstore in New York City this Thursday (July 11th) to help launch a new book, Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music. The event will also include a Q&A, which will likely feature inquiries about the forthcoming event. More info can be found here.