Woodstock 50 Denied Permit in Vernon, N.Y. — Now What?
The struggle to make Woodstock 50, originally scheduled for Aug. 16-18, 2019, a reality may have reached its unceremonious end on Tuesday (July 16), when the town of Vernon, N.Y., voted unanimously to uphold a prior rejection of the festival’s permit application. Organizers haven't yet officially announced that the festival is canceled -- but it's not looking good.
The organizers of Woodstock 50 released a statement -- its first without any sort of promise to make the event a reality -- after the Vernon Planning Board voted against a second appeal of their decision to deny the festival a permit (festival organizers' first appeal of the decision was also denied). “Woodstock 50 is disappointed that the Town of Vernon has passed up the opportunity to hold the historic 50th Anniversary Festival by denying our robust and thoughtful proposal,” reads the statement. “We regret that those in Vernon who supported Woodstock have been deprived of the once-in-a-lifetime chance to be part of the rebirth of a cultural peace movement that changed the world in 1969 and is what the world needs now."
Woodstock 50's organizers tell Pitchfork via email that they are "considering all options at this point."
Since the spring, Woodstock 50 has faced setback after setback. Tickets for the event, which was originally due to take place in Watkins Glen, N.Y., were supposed to go on sale on April 22, but that plan ways delayed after the festival failed to obtain a permit from the New York State Department of Health. That same month, the Dentsu Aegis Network announced the festival’s cancellation after they pulled their financial support, leading to legal disputes between the event's organizers and their former investors.
Festival organizers kept on trucking, however, planning a multi-day event at the Watkins Glen International racetrack, which is located about 140 miles northwest of the original Woodstock site. On June 10, the racetrack terminated the festival’s site license, forcing the uphill struggle to secure a site in Vernon.
According to Billboard, the festival's performers' contracts were with Dentsu Aegis Network, not other Woodstock 50 stakeholders, which means they've been void for nearly three months. The event's lineup, as announced in mid-March, includes Brandi Carlile, Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price, the Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Maggie Rogers, Anderson East, Larkin Poe, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Jade Bird, Amy Helm, the Marcus King Band, John Craigie, original Woodstock performer and longtime Nashville resident Melanie and many more.
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