In the latest round of the ongoing legal battle between the organizers of Woodstock 50 and their erstwhile partners Dentsu Aegis, attorney Marc Kasowitz announced that the festival has filed an appeal for Dentsu to return some $18.5 million the financial giant withdrew from the organizers’ bank account.
That money has been a point of contention between the two companies, as Dentsu abruptly pulled out of the festival earlier this month and claimed it was cancelled; Woodstock 50 organizers said Dentsu had no right to cancel. Last week a judge ruled in favor of Woodstock 50, but said that Dentsu was under no obligation to allow the festival to keep $18 million remaining in its accounts. Woodstock appealed, and apparently today made a first step in getting that money back.
“Today, in an important step, Justice David Friedman of the Appellate Division, First Department, issued an order requiring that Dentsu and Dentsu Aegis deposit into escrow by Friday at 5:00 p.m. the $18.5 million that Dentsu swept from a Woodstock 50 Festival account,” Kasowitz’s statement reads. “Justice Friedman issued this order pending the decision of a five-judge panel on Woodstock 50’s motion to return the funds to the Woodstock 50 Festival account.”
Last week Woodstock announced that it has secured a new financial partner, Oppenheimer & Co., although the exact capacity in which they’re involved isn’t entirely clear from the announcement, which describes the company’s involvement as a “financial advisor to complete the financing for the festival.” A source clarified (somewhat) that the festival has secured financing through Oppenheimer, although it was unclear how much money is involved.
The festival, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 16-18 at Watkins Glen International speedway in Upstate New York, has been troubled since it was first announced early this year. Initial reports of financial and organizational disarray were initially quashed when the festival held a splashy press conference in March announcing a blockbuster lineup including Jay-Z, the Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus and many others, but then the ticket on-sale date was abruptly postponed as the necessary mass-gathering permit had not been obtained.
Three months out, the picture is no clearer, and although agents for many artists have said that they will perform if the festival takes place, with each passing day it seems less and less likely that the organizers can pull it off.