Woodstock 50 promoter accuses investors of illegally removing $17 million

festival 08/05/2019

Woodstock 50 promoter Michael Lang has accused his former business partners of "illegally sweeping" $17 million ($34 million NZD) from the festival's funds.

Lang, who was the original co-founder of Woodstock Festival, said that his partners were trying to "suffocate and kill" the anniversary festival.

The festival first ran into trouble when tickets were not available for purchase as scheduled. Later, Lang's financial partner, Dentsu released a press statement that Woodstock 50 has been cancelled, while Lang insisted that it was going to happen without Dentsu.

Now, in a five-page document seen by Rolling Stone, Lang has thrown all kinds of accusations of Dentsu performing unlawful acts, one of them being "illegally sweeping approximately $17 million from the festival bank account."

"We also have evidence that Dentsu representatives have gone so far as to say that should the talent back out of Woodstock, they would be seen favourably by Dentsu and that this could result in their performing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where Dentsu is a major organizer," Lang continued. "In these actions too, Dentsu has acted not only without honour but outside of the law."

Lang claims that Dentsu intentionally blocked the ticket launch "for no apparent reason", arguing that it would cause the festival to lose money. Lang then presented "multiple plans illustrating a slight profit and substantiated these plans with supporting documents. However, for reasons not explained to us, it seemed to fall on deaf ears."

Initially, I had some concerns about linking an organization like Dentsu to Woodstock

He also says that Dentsu had acted incompetently for "taking over" the festival and then announcing its cancellation. Dentsu also listed its subsidiary investment baby, Amplifi Live, as co-producer and financier which had been arranged for reasons of "optics" alone.

Lang concluded that the festival will still go ahead saying, "It is one thing if your company, Dentsu, wanted to back out of its commitment to Woodstock because it would not make as much money as it had hoped, but to try to suffocate and kill Woodstock so that we could not have a festival for our Golden Anniversary without you is puzzling for any company, let alone one that claims reform."