Virgin Exec in Talks to Produce Woodstock 50
Jason Felts, CEO of Virgin Produced -- which stages the popular KAABOO festival series -- is considering taking on the troubled anniversary festival.
Festival veteran Jason Felts is in talks with Woodstock 50's co-owners about helping resurrect and stage the troubled anniversary festival at a yet-to-be-named site in upstate New York, Billboard has learned.
Felts is the CEO of Virgin Produced, the entertainment arm of Richard Branson's Virgin Group, which produces the popular KAABOO festival in Southern California and has expanded to Texas and the Cayman Islands in recent years. Felts is a partner in KAABOO, but the Woodstock project is totally separate from KAABOO and the two are not associated.
Felts was approached by owners of the troubled festival after producer Superfly pulled out in May over long-standing disagreements regarding the capacity of the event at Watkins Glen International in New York. Woodstock's main investor Dentsu previously pulled out of the the anniversary concert headlined by Jay-Z, Imagine Dragons and Dead and Company, citing unmet benchmarks and concerns with the viability of the site.
Lawyers for Woodstock 50 partner Greg Peck and Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang took Dentsu to court and a judge overseeing the case ruled that Dentsu didnt have the power to cancel the festival, but stopped short of forcing the Japanese conglamerate from returning the $18 million left of its orginal $49 million investment to Woodstock -- a decision that was later upheld on appeal.
Earlier this month, Watkins Glen officals announced the speedway was ending its licensing agreement to host the festival, saying Woodstock missed a $150,000 payment due in May. The announcement terminated the event's permit application with the New York Department of Health and was followed by an anouncement from CID Entertainment that it was also done working with Woodstock 50.
Felts faces a daunting task reviving the event and has not made a final determination about whether or not he will produce a revived Woodstock 50. In the interim, Felts is serving as a consultant to determine the event's feasibility, due diligence needs and operational and financial assessment.
Peck is working with financial advisor Oppenheimer & Co to obtain financing, but neither Branson nor Virgin are financing the festival.
Felts and Woodstock 50 declined to comment.