Woodstock 50 Lost Festival Site Because Organizers Failed to Make Final $150,000 Payment

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Woodstock 50

The troubled event didn't deliver the second half of the $300,000 licensing fee due to Watkins Glen International speedway.

Organizers of the Woodstock 50 festival lost their festival site at Watkins Glen International speedway because they failed to make a $150,000 payment due on May 15, Billboard has learned.

New court filings in New York show that speedway president Michael Printup made several attempts to collect the payment from Woodstock 50 investor Greg Peck and the event's co-founder Michael Lang before issuing a breach notification on June 3. Lawyers for Dentsu, which had agreed to invest $49 million in the troubled Aug 16-18 festival and later attempted to cancel the event, attached Printup's letter to a June 12 notice filed with the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division asking for Woodstock's appeal of a previous ruling to be dismissed. 

The missed payment was the second half of the $300,000 licensing fee festival organizers had agreed to pay the NASCAR track to host the festival. The $150,000 payment was due the day after Woodstock 50 lost a key court battle on May 14 when a New York judge refused to force Dentsu to return $17.8 million of its own money withdrawn from the festival's bank account. 

Three days later on May 17, Woodstock 50 officials announced they had enlisted investment bank and financial services firm Oppenheimer & Co. to serve as a financial advisor and "complete the financing for the festival." Then on June 3, Printup sent Peck and Lang a certified letter informing them "the final payment has not been received and WGI is officially terminating [the licensing agreement]." Peck refused to accept the certified letter and after the post office returned the notification to WGI, Printup sent a June 7 email informing Peck of the termination.

On Monday, Printup announced that the speedway had "terminated the site license for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract" and was "rescinding its Mass Gathering application" with the New York State Department of Health. Hours later, CID Entertainment, who had been floated as a possible replacement for producer Superfly, informed Billboard that it was "no longer involved in Woodstock 50 in any capacity."

Despite losing its permit, its producer and its venue over the course of a few hours, and after losing its main investor and crucial parts of two court rulings, Peck remains defiant and insists the show will still go on.

"We are in discussions with another venue to host Woodstock 50 on August 16th—18th and look forward to sharing the new location when tickets go on sale in the coming weeks," he said in a statement to Billboard.

Billboard reached out to Printup and was told the racetrack president had no comment. Representatives for Woodstock 50 did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

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