Michael Lang and the organizers of the 50th anniversary Woodstock festival planned for later this year scored a victory of sorts today in court, with a judge ruling that disgruntled former backer Dentsu could not unilaterally cancel the festival.
But Billboard reports that the judge also ruled that Dentsu does not have to return the $18 million it pulled from a bank account it shared with other Woodstock 50 backers.
“That leaves the festival effectively broke, for the time being, but that didn’t stop Lang from declaring victory seconds after New York Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager’s decision was posted to the docket this afternoon (May 15),” Billboard reports.
The report adds: “While Ostrager ruled that investor Dentsu and its subsidiary Amplifi Live acted outside of the powers granted to them in their contract with Woodstock 50 when they announced the cancellation of the festival on April 29, he also said Lang never controlled how money was spent and was not entitled to have the investment forcibly returned.”
Ostrager’s 10-page opinion found Dentsu had the right to “mitigate its damages” from the festival, which Billboard notes “had gone off the rails in recent months.”
The opinion reportedly notes that “multiple permits necessary to conduct the Festival were not in place, tickets had not yet been sold, no budget had been agreed upon, necessary and expensive structural improvements to the Festival site and related areas had not yet started, and the production company essential to produce the Festival had withdrawn.”
Billboard quotes a statement from Lang following the opinion in which he says: “We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the Festival would take place. I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience.”
Woodstock 50 is scheduled for Aug. 16-18 in Watkins Glen, N.Y.