As those who’ve followed Woodstock 50 can attest, the ill-fated anniversary music festival hasn’t been able to catch a break.
Now, just over a month out from the event’s scheduled date, things are looking bleaker than ever.
Specifically, residents of Vernon, New York, home of the Vernon Downs (Woodstock 50’s planned venue), came out swinging at a recent town board meeting. Board members were similarly critical of the show, and to make matters worse, the event’s permit was denied because planners have allegedly failed to meet safety requirements.
This certification is hardly optional, and Woodstock 50 cannot take place unless a permit is granted. One permit reviewer went as far as calling Woodstock 50 “a recipe for disaster.”
Residents and board members made some valid points at the mentioned meeting. They expressed concerns with potential damage to homes, businesses, and property — damage that could result when the estimated 65,000 attendees depart Woodstock 50 on each of its three nights (16-18th of August).
Residents also questioned the ability of their law-enforcement professionals and emergency services to meet the demands of such a massive crowd. For reference, Vernon’s 2010 population was just over 5,400 citizens.
In terms of the permit denial, Woodstock 50’s planners will have five days to appeal the decision, though experts have indicated that it’ll be very, very difficult — nearly impossible — to have the ruling overturned.
Stated in short, these experts noted that most of the issues with Woodstock 50’s permit application can be resolved, but that doing so will take many months. Vernon’s sheriff recommended that the festival be delayed until 2020.
Woodstock 50’s original financier, Dentsu Aegis, withdrew funding in May. This move sparked a series of setbacks, including the loss of multiple event producers (the latest being CID Entertainment), the loss of a venue (Watkins Glen International Speedway), and the loss of a permit.
If the safety of attendees is going to be jeopardized — and more than a few individuals believe that it’ll be logistically tough to keep things in order — it’s probably best for Woodstock 50 to be delayed until the appropriate accommodations are prepared.
At the time of writing, though, the event’s planners claim that Woodstock 50 will go on as planned. Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure: this one’s coming down to the wire.