Despite countless setbacks and continuous chaos, Woodstock 50 is not giving in to cancellation just yet. According to a new report from Rolling Stone on Friday, organizers of the 50th-anniversary festival have found a new backer to fund the event, scheduled to take place on August 16th, 17th, and 18th at Watkins Glen International. New York-based investment bank and financial services firm Oppenheimer & Co will now put up the cash to help Michael Lang and company bring the festival to fruition.
“We are thrilled to be onboard for this incredible weekend of music and social engagement,” John Tonelli, head of Debt Capital Markets & Syndication at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc, said in a statement. “We believe in Woodstock as an important American cultural icon and look forward to its regeneration in the green fields of Watkins Glen this August with all of the artists on the remarkable lineup.”
Added Lang, “We look forward to putting on an incredible festival. Words cannot express how appreciative Woodstock 50, the artists, the fans and the community are to Oppenheimer for joining with us to make W50 a reality.”
The recruitment of this new financial backer comes after weeks of legal drama and conflicting information surrounding Woodstock and their original financiers, Dentsu, who made an announcement “officially” canceling the event late last month after deciding that “we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.”
Lang quickly fired back, asserting that the festival was, in fact, still going forward as planned. He maintained that Dentsu had no legal right to cancel the festival, and even filed a lawsuit against the firm asserting that they illegally stole more than $17M from the festival’s bank account in an attempt to sabotage the event.
Earlier this week, courts mitigated Woodstock’s suit and decided that Dentsu did not have the legal right to cancel the festival, though the question of financing the endeavor remained a mystery. Now, with the addition of this new financial partner, the Woodstock team may be getting closer to actually making the event happen.
However, all is not remedied just yet. It has not yet been reported exactly how much money Oppenheimer is putting up as Woodstock’s new financier. According to reports last week, the event needed as much as $20M to keep the festival alive. Even if they do have the necessary funding, as of now, Woodstock 50 organizers have still yet to secure the mass gathering permit necessary to host the festival.
Amidst all the confusion, various artists signed on to perform at the festival have noted that they are still in the dark on the status of the event. As John Fogerty told Rolling Stone, “They postponed announcing the tickets, and I remember reading a while ago that they didn’t have some of the permits. That just blew my mind. You’d think it would be the first thing you’d do and not the last thing. You got the sense there was some shakiness to this whole thing.”
Dead & Company’s John Mayer also commented on unknown status of the festival, telling Andy Cohen, “I’m as much of a spectator as anyone else is to this wildness. I was told, ‘Yeah it’s not happening.’ There’s only one person still saying, ‘No, it’s gonna go.’ It reminds me of the scene in Monty Python [and The Holy Grail] where the knight is now missing the arm and the leg and he’s hopping up and down and saying, ‘It’s just a flesh wound.’ If those guys [Dead & Company] end up going, I will go, but it seems to me now: ‘It’s just a flesh wound’ and blood is spurting everywhere.”
It’s admittedly tough to keep up with the current back-and-forth regarding the fate of Woodstock 50. As of now, tickets have not yet gone on sale and permits have not been secured, though it’s still technically going to happen—depending on who you ask.
[H/T Rolling Stone]