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It's Time for Woodstock 50 to Just Give Up Already

After two rejections, organisers are applying for yet another permit to host a three-day festival in upstate New York.

by Josh Terry
19 July 2019, 7:45am

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This article originally appeared on VICE US.

Earlier this week, Woodstock 50 looked like it was finished. Less than a month away from its planned dates of August 16-18, the beleaguered and comically controversy-prone festival was, for the second time, denied permission to host the event in Vernon, New York after town officials unanimously voted to reject the proposal. Following the denial, the event's production company partner Virgin Produced dropped out of backing it, saying that “there is simply no time left” to secure permits and a venue. According to reports, the main reasons for the town’s denials include that the applications were “incomplete and late,” but that hasn’t stopped Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang from trying yet again.

Last night, in an email to Pitchfork, a festival spokesperson wrote that the team is “considering all options at this point.” Today, reports surfaced that Woodstock 50 organizers have, for the third time, reapplied to the town of Vernon to host the festival at the racetrack and casino Vernon Downs. While it’s unclear what’s changed in the application or when the town is supposed to respond to the application, what is becoming obvious is that this is a gobsmackingly bad idea. With no venue, no tickets sold, deadlines quickly approaching, acts on the lineup who have been left in the dark this entire process (though they have all been paid in advance), and dozens of logistical and safety concerns, there is no reason for this to happen this year, if ever.

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol has been very vocal about why Woodstock 50 is a bad idea, writing in a Facebook post, “I’m not surprised that Woodstock 50 has re-applied for a third time in yet another attempt to hold this event in Vernon. The very serious public safety concerns I had (Wednesday) are still the same ones I have today, nothing has changed that would make me feel otherwise.” He continued, “With only 29 days until the event, there is no practical or logistical possibility that this event could occur without significant risk to public safety.” Though the original goal was for Woodstock 50 to host 150,000 thousand people, the amended Vernon Downs goal is for 65,000 ticket buyers, which still seems practically impossible to coordinate considering August 16 is fast approaching.

Woodstock 50 organizers still have not officially announced the festival's cancellation or even commented on the renewed application, which is a shame. There is no reason to continue on as Woodstock’s original legacy can live on without needing to see Imagine Dragons play a half-empty racetrack a half-century later. It’s time to give up.

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music festivals
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michael lang
woodstock 50