Woodstock continues to live up to its historical reputation as one of America’s most unorganized, yet still entertaining festival brands…sort of. On Monday, the ongoing drama behind the planned 50th-anniversary of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival continued to level up, as the event’s former financial backer, Dentsu, has responded to founder Michael Lang‘s recent legal claims that the company stole festival funds and overstepped their bounds by prematurely canceling the upcoming summer event and trying to lure artists to pull out in exchange for bookings at the 2020 Olympics.
“Woodstock 50 LLC’s and Michael Lang’s misrepresentations, incompetence, and contractual breaches have made it impossible to produce a high-quality event that is safe and secure for concertgoers, artists, and staff,” a legal rep for Dentsu said in a statement reported on Monday. “The production company has quit, no permits have been issued, necessary roadwork has not begun, and there is no prospect for sufficient financing … As much as the parties might wish it otherwise, the festival contemplated by their agreement cannot happen and allowing it to go forward would only put the public at risk.”
The statement comes in response to Lang’s recent lawsuit, which arrived after Dentsu’s investment arm withdrew $18 million from a bank account shared with Woodstock 50. Lang and his lawyers claim the sizable withdrawal greatly diminished the event’s business prospects and made it impossible to stage the anniversary concert planned for August 16th–18th.
Lang’s lawyers also stated that “Dentsu has no right under its agreement with Woodstock 50 to either cancel the Festival or abscond with nearly $18 million of the Festival’s money.”
In response, Dentsu’s lawyers have said that Lang not only misrepresented the number of attendees the festival’s planned site (Watkin’s Glen International Speedway) could safely hold, but also lied about his then-current standing in the state’s application process for a mass gathering permit—which still has yet to be acquired as of Monday.
While the back-and-forth drama behind the festival’s business partners seems to provide more entertainment than the actual event probably ever will, last week it was announced that a monster 50th-anniversary box set of recordings of almost every song performed at the 1969 festival will arrive via Rhino this summer. So fans at least have that going for them, which is nice.