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Woodstock company sues its former financial backer

By | Published on Monday 13 May 2019

Woodstock 50

Perhaps recognising that – post-Fyre – the real aim of any music festival today is to inspire a headline-grabbing Netflix documentary down the line, organisers of Woodstock 50 are keeping things interesting by suing their financial backers.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock – due to take place in August – was thrown into doubt last month when its primary financial backer, called Amplifi Live, announced that the event had been cancelled. But the company that actually controls the Woodstock brand then quickly denied any cancellation had taken place and insisted the show would go on without its business partner.

At the time the Woodstock company said it had been a “complete surprise” when Amplifi Live – a division of marketing group the Dentsu Aegis Network – issued its statement announcing the event’s cancellation. Team Woodstock then added that their financial backer had no right to unilaterally call the festival off, and that its decision to do so could result in legal action.

That legal action was filed last week in the New York courts, with the Woodstock company accusing its former partner of bad conduct in the way it announced the supposed cancellation of the festival. It also takes issue with emails that Amplifi Live sent to the agents of some of the booked acts at around about the same time, and then accuses its backer of dodgy dealings in the way it took monies out of a bank account that’d been set up especially for their joint project.

It remains to be seen how Dentsu and the judge respond to the legal complaint. But whatever happens at Woodstock 50 – or, indeed, if the festival doesn’t even now occur – it feels like there’ll still be plenty of entertainment to be had in that inevitable future Netflix documentary film.