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Woodstock 50 back on?

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WATKINS GLEN, NY — The concert planned to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock in Watkins Glen—not the one planned for Bethel—is back on, the organizers say. They have announced a new funding partner: the Oppenheimer & Co. brokerage and investment bank.

This comes after the first funding partner for the event, the Japanese advertising company Dentsu Aegis Network, announced on April 29 that the concert had been cancelled, and then withdrew about $18 million from the concert’s account.

Woodstock 50 filed a lawsuit against Dentsu on May 8, and on May 15, a judge ruled that Dentsu did not have the right to cancel the contract, but the judge did not order the company to return the money to the concert’s account.

The clash between Dentsu’s investment arm Amplifi Live and Woodstock 50 producer Michael Lang grew increasingly bitter. Lawyer Marc Greenwald wrote in court documents, “Amplifi Live worked nonstop for the last 10 months and invested millions of dollars to put on the Woodstock 50th anniversary festival in Watkins Glen this August.

“But Woodstock 50 LLC’s and Michael Lang’s misrepresentations, incompetence and contractual breaches have made it impossible to produce a high-quality event that is safe and secure for concertgoers, artists and staff. The production company has quit, no permits have been issued, necessary roadwork has not begun and there is no prospect for sufficient financing.”

But Woodstock 50 soon found new financing. “We are thrilled to be onboard for this incredible weekend of music and social engagement,” said John Tonelli, head of Debt Capital Markets & Syndication at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. “We believe in Woodstock as an important American cultural icon and look forward to its regeneration in the green fields of Watkins Glen this August with all of the artists on the remarkable lineup.”

“We’ve lined up artists who won’t just entertain, but will remind the world that music has the power to bring people together, to heal, to move us to action and to tell the stories of a generation,” said Michael Lang, co-founder and producer of the 1969 and 2019 Woodstock festivals. “We look forward to putting on an incredible festival. Words cannot express how appreciative Woodstock 50, the artists, the fans and the community are to Oppenheimer for joining with us to make W50 a reality.”

Ticket sales have not yet begun, and the organizers have yet to obtain a mass gathering permit. Still, according to various reports, acts that still plan on performing include Imagine Dragons, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, John Fogerty, Greta Van Fleet, Halsey and Cage the Elephant, but Black Keys have dropped out.

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