Woodstock 50’s Latest Plea Denied Unanimously by Town of Vernon
The light is quickly fading on Woodstock 50, which in its latest plea to the town of Vernon, New York, was rejected in its effort to secure a permit to hold the three-day concert at Vernon Downs.
The Syracuse area venue with a capacity of 35,000 was the most recent proposed site for the troubled festival, which has been dogged by financial and organizational problems since it was announced in January. An open house was held in advance of a town meeting to determine whether or not the festival’s permit application for the site will be approved. It has already been rejected by the town codes committee twice and been appealed by the festival’s organizers.
The town’s planning committee rendered its denial just after 8:30 p.m. local time and it was unanimous.
The organizers’ plan to hold three day-long concerts — rather than one single-weekend festivals — would see attendees bussed in from parking lots on nearby Routes 5 and 31, according to WUTR-TV. Camping is not part of the plan and area accommodations are scant.
Says one concert insider: “They could pull off a show for 4,000 to 5,000 people, but not 30,000.” In addition, the festival faces numerous obstacles, not the least of which involves selling tickets in time and building a stage that can handle the complicated productions of its headliners.
Asked earlier on Tuesday what will happen if the festival’s appeal is rejected, Woodstock founder Michael Lang told the Poughkeepsie Journal: “If we don’t get the decision we want, it’s something that we will then have to consider. If it doesn’t work this year, it doesn’t work this year. We’ve tried everything we can. We’ve done our best. We’ll continue to do our best until we find out one way or the other whether it’s going to happen.”
The festival, which is scheduled to feature a blockbuster lineup including Jay-Z, Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus and many others, has been plagued by organizational and financial difficulties since it was announced: The original financial backer, Dentsu Aegis, pulled out in May; Watkins Glen International speedway, followed last month.
As for what happens next? Organizers could refile, but that looks to be a fruitless attempt at this point. Certainly, litigation is forthcoming, but until the festival is officially canceled, the millions of dollars committed to performing acts remains in a holding pattern. But all that could change in the coming days as agents consider their options as they relate to their already-booked acts.