How desperate is Woodstock 50 co-founder Michael Lang to save face?
Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for Michael Lang and his failed music festival Woodstock 50, they have.
According to yet another disastrous report, it looks like artists contracted for the music event will keep their deposits following Woodstock 50’s cancelation.
The news comes days after Dentsu Aegis-owned Amplifi Live, the event’s financial backer, announced the event’s termination.
In a statement, Amplifi Live representatives explained,
“As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”
The news infuriated Lang and his team of festival organizers, who swiftly responded.
“Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancellation and legal remedy will be sought.”
Lambasting Dentsu Aegis all week, Lang himself added,
“Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it. Woodstock belongs to the people and it always will.
“The bottom line is, there’s going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it’s going to be a blast.”
Yet, it doesn’t look like the festival will take place.
News quickly spread that Lang had squandered $30 million of Amplifi Live’s cash in securing big names. Maybe that’s the cost of doing business. But Lang hadn’t, however, secured the proper permits for the event scheduled to take place at Watkins Glen in New York.
Desperate to bury Dentsu’s imminent cancelation, Lang and his team reportedly pleaded with Live Nation, AEG, and C3 last week for help. They begged for a $20 million investment to keep the festival alive.
They told Lang and his team, “No.”
But this horrific situation just got worse. Yesterday, Superfly backed out of the event.
The major entertainment company, which has co-produced popular festivals, including Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, explained,
“Throughout our engagement, our team provided counsel and recommendation on the necessary elements required to produce a safe and first-class experience.
“Following the decision of one of our clients, Dentsu, to cancel the event, we will no longer [participate] in ongoing related activities.”
Now, in full panic mode, Lang has made a major hire.
Will Donald Trump’s attorney save Woodstock 50?
According to sources speaking with Billboard, participating artists like Jay-Z and Miley Cyrus, among others, could readily terminate their contracts for the event.
As the artists were hired through Dentsu Aegis, musicians could pull out and keep their money.
In an e-mail sent to Billboard’s Dave Brooks, and without adding any evidence to support his statement, Lang wrote,
“Dave, my grip is right here and it’s fine.”
Unfortunately, it’s not. Lang claimed Woodstock 50 LLC, and not Dentsu, made the contracts. Thus, artists can’t pull out of the event.
In yet another desperate attempt to turn things around and finally launch his music event, Lang has hired former Donald Trump attorney Mac Kasowitz. Kasowitz is a well-known partner of New York law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres who has served as a personal outside attorney for President Donald Trump.
Lang’s lawyer quickly fired back against the latest news underscoring Woodstock 50’s imminent demise.
In an e-mail, Kasowitz wrote,
“A story just ran in Billboard saying that the Woodstock 50 artists can terminate their contracts because the agreements were with Dentsu and the festival is canceled. Both those statements are untrue. The artists’ agreements are with Woodstock 50 LLC and the festival has not been canceled and preparations are continuing.”
Sources from two talent agencies soon revealed the real story. Dentsu, not Lang, had made the contracts.
One unnamed talent agent, representing a major name scheduled to perform at Lang’s event, explained,
“First, no one from Lang’s office or Woodstock 50 has called us to let us know what’s going on. Second, our contract was with Amplifi Live, not with Woodstock 50.”
Another major talent agency revealed even more bad news. As festival organizers have failed to receive permits for the event, and as Superfly and Dentsu have both pulled out, Lang would be unable to deliver on his promise. This represents a breach of contract.
In short, Woodstock 50 is done, no matter what Lang and his new lawyer say.