UPDATED: As expected, the troubled Woodstock 50 festival today officially appealed the rejected permit from the Town of Vernon in Upstate New York, which includes Vernon Downs, the most recent proposed venue for the festival.
Woodstock 50 is scheduled to take place Aug. 16-18, five weeks from today, and has no confirmed venue nor have tickets gone on sale — many months later than such things are usually confirmed for music festivals.
“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,” the statement reads. “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. 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.”
In a statement early Thursday evening, a rep for the festival added: “Woodstock 50 looks forward to formally presenting in person its application to the Town of Vernon at a meeting that officials agreed late Thursday to schedule imminently, once they have had sufficient time to review our exhaustive plan.”
The festival also sent out a Tweet this morning, apparently making an appeal to residents of Vernon — which reads in part, “Will you all let peace, love and music prevail [at Vernon Downs] August 16th-18?” — although the responses were largely negative.
Will the Town of Vernon allow peace, love & music to prevail so we can celebrate Woodstock50 with you? Upon permit approval we’ll announce our ticket on sale. Please share to show your support.☮️❤️🎵#Woodstock #Woodstock50 pic.twitter.com/Fft0RXCj1G
— WOODSTOCK (@woodstockfest) July 11, 2019
Variety broke the news Tuesday that the permit had been rejected after the festival was criticized during a Vernon town meeting as a “recipe for disaster” by the local head of emergency services. Oneida Country Executive Anthony Picente Jr. told Variety that “what they have submitted to date has not met many of the requirements” to stage the festival and the chances of it taking place in Oneida Country seem “highly unlikely.
“It’s been chaotic,” he said of the past few weeks’ scramble to stage the festival at Vernon Downs, which has no camping facilities, after the previous proposed venue, Watkins Glen International speedway, pulled out last month. “Originally it was going to be a three-day festival, but then [the producers] said instead it would be three one-day events, with all 65,000 or however many people vacating the grounds at the end of each day.” Billboard repors that the projected audience has been lowered to 35,000, although reps for the festival did not confirm that number.
The festival, which is scheduled to feature a blockbuster lineup including Jay-Z, Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus and many others, has been plagued by organizational and financial difficulties since it was announced: The original financial backer, Dentsu Aegis, pulled out in May; Watkins Glen International speedway, followed last month.