It’s On Again: After New York Supreme Court Victory, Woodstock 50 Has Been Resurrected

A Supreme Court judge found that the festival's original financier, Dentsu, didn't have the right to cancel the event.

Woodstock 50
Michael Lang's Woodstock 50 will live to see another day after winning a key case in New York's Supreme Court.

Up until yesterday night, it looked like the Woodstock 50 music festival was going to go down as one of the greatest misfires in rock history. After its co-producers emerged from court, though, it was a different story altogether.

As Variety reports, Michael Lang, one-half of the Woodstock 50 team (and a co-creator of the original Woodstock Music and Arts Fair of 1969), along with his business partner, Gregory Peck, won a court case in the New York State’s Supreme Court against the festival’s original financial backer, Dentsu, which stated that Dentsu had no right to cancel the festival. Peck released a statement saying, “Woodstock 50 is on!”

However, the winning the decision didn’t include Dentsu returning Woodstock 50 with the $17.8 million Lang and Peck had alleged its backer had drained from the festival’s accounts. So Lang and Peck have an uphill battle in terms of getting ahold of new funding. And the ruling didn’t clarify when Woodstock 50 tickets would go on sale, whether Lang and Peck would be able to secure permits or other organizational questions, which have been nagging since Dentsu declared the festival DOA just a handful of weeks ago.

Said Lang after the ruling: “We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the festival would take place. I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”

None of this, of course, ensures that Woodstock 50 will actually take place. And as we’ve reported before, there’s a solid fallback option: Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, which sits on the farm where the original ’69 festival took place, has a trio of events, occurring over the weekend of August 16-18. The Edgar Winter Band (Winter performed with his brother, Johnny, at the original festival), Santana and John Fogerty (of Creedence Clearwater Revival) will all be performing in separate shows over that weekend (the Edgar Winter show will be headlined by former Beatle Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band). Bethel Woods’ museum currently has an exhibit on display, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, featuring photos, videos and memorabilia connected to the original festival.

Will Levith

Will Levith is Editorial Director at Saratoga Living and Capital Region Living magazine. He's a native Saratogian and graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. His work has been published by Esquire, Playboy, Condé Nast Traveler, Men's Health, RealClearLife and many others. He lives in Troy with his wife, Laura, and dog, Esopus.


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