Organizers behind the highly publicized failed Woodstock 50 event which disappointingly never took place after months of drama throughout 2019 are suing former financial partners Dentsu Group (again) and its affiliates Dentsu Aegis Network and MKTG. As Rolling Stone reports, the complaint filed this week in New York Supreme Court claims Dentsu Group is “Directly responsible for the destruction of the Woodstock 50 Anniversary Festival” which was supposed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock last summer.
As fans will remember, the major festival was first proposed to take place over three days at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York on August 16th-18th with performances from Dead & Company, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Santana, The Raconteurs, Run The Jewels, and many more headline-worthy names. Permitting issues, event production delays, and legal drama plagued the event almost immediately, along with conflicting information coming from Dentsu who first made the announcement that the event was canceled in April–though it’s not clear if they had the legal authority to do so.
After Watkins Glen officials revoked the site license for Woodstock 50 in July, event organizers secured a new financial backer (Oppenheimer & Co.) to help salvage the festival. Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang also filed the first lawsuit against Dentsu over the summer claiming they illegally stole more than $17M from the festival’s bank account in an attempt to sabotage the event. Woodstock 50 was officially canceled in late July.
The new lawsuit filed on Wednesday also alleges non-party Amplifi Live, LLC–another affiliate of Dentsu Group–is guilty of “Governing the terms of the production of the festival” and that they had “breached that agreement” of the partnership.
“Dentsu’s wrongful actions to defame Woodstock 50 were undertaken for the purpose of preventing other parties from attending, financing or participating in the Festival, and were intended to and did ensure that the Festival failed and Woodstock 50 could make no profit from the Festival,” the lawsuit filed by Woodstock organizers alleges. “Absent Dentsu’s wrongful actions, Woodstock 50 would have been able to successfully produce the Festival, and further monetize the Festival through media and sponsorship deals and future licensing deals relating to the Festival.”
“Dentsu’s affiliate, Amplifi Live, acted in the best interest of the public last year after Woodstock 50 breached its agreement,” Amplifi Live told Rolling Stone in response to the lawsuit. “After a full evidentiary hearing, the court credited Amplifi Live’s evidence that a safe and profitable festival could not be mounted, and therefore refused to order Amplfi Live to continue funding the project.”
Amplifi Live continued, “Amplfi Live is vigorously defending these claims in arbitration and pursuing breach and fraud claims against Woodstock 50. Amplifi Live and its parent and affiliates will vigorously defend Woodstock 50’s eleventh-hour effort to escape the arbitration forum. Woodstock 50 does not represent the Woodstock brand, having lost that license, and the claims in this new filing have no merit and are improper.”
This story is ongoing.
[H/T Rolling Stone]