On Tuesday, a Vernon code enforcement officer denied an application for the festival to hold its event at Vernon Downs, saying the application was incomplete and filed too late. According to festival organizers, they hope their lengthy new application will encourage the town to work with them to host the festival meant to commemorate the anniversary of the iconic Woodstock from 1969.
“Woodstock 50 this morning appealed a decision by the Town of Vernon to turn down a permit needed to hold its 50th Anniversary Festival at Vernon Downs. We also have submitted a comprehensive new application that is nearly 500 pages in length that spells out in great detail our plans for security, traffic and medical emergencies,” Woodstock 50 organizers said in a statement sent to Billboard.
“We believe there was no legal reason for the Town to turn down the original permit application. We hope that for the good of the local and regional economy of central New York and for the health of the Town’s largest employer, Vernon Downs, officials will grant the requested permit on an expedited basis and agree to host what will be a safe, world-class and historic event,” the statement continues.
Tuesday's permit denial follows a Vernon town board meeting Monday night where law enforcement and city officials brought up concerns about public safety give the short period of time organizers have to execute the event that takes place in just over a month.
Vernon Downs is the second location Woodstock 50 has tried to secure as a venue. Woodstock 50’s original venue, Watkins Glen International, rescinded the event's permit application on June 10 with less than 70 days to go. That followed a number of setbacks for the festival, which started in late April when its investor Dentsu pulled out from the festival and then Lang and Peck lost a string of court hearings aimed at retaining the financer's promised funds.
The efforts to keep the troubled festival afloat are being led by Woodstock 50's original investor Greg Peck, co-founder Michael Lang and KAABOO producer Jason Felts with his team at Virgin Produced, who were brought on as consultants. The festival also recruited new advisors to work on traffic plans, safety and security, and specialists in talent relations to help secure Vernon Downs venue.