Woodstock 50’s Safety Plan Is “Worthless,” City Official Says
Woodstock 50 organizers’ fourth attempt to secure a permit to host the festival at the Vernon Downs horse racing track in New York’s Oneida County was denied today. Given the event’s disastrous past several months, and the fact that local officials previously called Woodstock’s proposal a “recipe for disaster,” this is no surprise. Vernon’s latest rebuff, though, offers amusing new insight into the festival’s ineptitude.
A denial letter from Vernon’s code enforcement officer Reay Walker, reported by the Poughkeepsie Journal, claims Woodstock’s latest safety plan, submitted July 17, failed to clarify such basic details as how to prevent people without tickets from entering the grounds, or where the estimated crowd of 65,000 might stay at night. “Implicit in this application is that those forced to leave Vernon Downs at 11:00 at night will be forced to sleep in their cars or any lawn or sidewalk that seems unguarded,” Walker wrote.
In addition, organizers reportedly submitted a contact list that included employees from Virgin Produced, a production company enlisted after the original production company pulled out last month. The problem: Virgin Produced likewise withdrew from the event on July 16. Organizers also requested in their application that Vernon keep the safety plan’s details confidential. “This disclaimer of responsibility makes the plan worthless,” Walker wrote in response.
Woodstock 50 remains scheduled for Aug. 16–19. An event spokesperson declined to comment to SPIN on Vernon’s latest rejection. You can read the Pughkeepsie Journal’s full report here.