Michael Lang Says He Needs to Raise $30M by Friday to Save Woodstock 50
After doubling down on Woodstock 50 and doing a media blitz with half-a-dozen publications, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang now has until Friday to raise the money needed to produce the anniversary festival in upstate New York, sources tell Billboard.
Lang estimates that he will need $30 million to stage the three-day concert, Aug. 16-18, at Watkins Glen International speedway, 150 miles east of the original 1969 festival site. That’s in addition to the $30 million Japanese firm Dentsu already spent on headliners for the festival including Jay-Z, Dead & Company, The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Miley Cyrus and Chance the Rapper.
Officials with Dentsu told Billboard that their decision Monday to withdraw from Woodstock 50 meant the anniversary festival would be canceled, but Lang disagreed and said he would continue to produce the festival without Dentsu or producer Rick Farman from Superfly, which issued a statement on May 1 saying New York City-based promoter “will no longer be participating” in Woodstock 50.
A day later, a spokesperson for Lang told Billboard that Dan Berkowitz and his firm CID Entertainment would replace Superfly as the festival’s producer, but Berkowitz has not confirmed that his company is staging the 75,000-person camping and music festival. The outspoken festival veteran has gone radio silent after last week’s cancelation announcement — CID had orginally signed on to run hospitality and VIP services at Woodstock 50, working parellel with Superfly who was staging and producing the performances and managing the campgrounds.
While the standard producer fee for most festivals is 10 percent — about $3 million for Woodstock 50 — it’s unclear how much CID Entertainment will get paid, or if Lang will be able to raise the $30 million to stage the festival. A representative for Lang and Greg Park, Lang’s partner in the Woodstock 50 LLC, already approached both Live Nation and AEG about investing in the festival, and both promoters passed.
It’s also unclear if the artists announced to perform at the festival — top of the lineup artists including Sturgill Simpson, The Lumineers, Greta Van Fleet, Janelle Monae and Santana — are still obligated to perform at the anniversary festival. Representatives from two major talent agencies with artists booked at the festival say their contract is with Dentsu and its holding company Amplifi Live, and not with Woodstock 50. But Lang’s attorney Marc Kasowitz disagrees, saying “the artists’ agreements are with Woodstock 50 LLC” in a statement, adding “the festival has not been canceled and preparations are continuing.”
Many agents are taking a wait-and-see approach based on how the festival plays out and whether or not Lang can raise the money needed, and secure a mass gathering permit the from New York Department of Heath, before officially saying whether their artists are in or out of the anniversary festival.
Billboard reached out to Lang for comment but had not received a response at time of publishing.
This article originally appeared on Billboard.