×

Woodstock 50 Permit Denied by Latest Proposed Site

UPDATED: The permit required to stage the troubled Woodstock 50 festival at its most recent proposed site, Vernon Downs in the town of Vernon near Utica in Upstate New York, has been denied, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. tells Variety. The application was filed well after the standard 120-day deadline, a source says.

The promoters have appealed or will appeal the decision, according to a statement sent to Variety Tuesday night. However, Picente says, “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.”

Asked about the likelihood that producers could appeal the decision and the festival could be staged at Vernon Downs, Picentre allowed that “anything is possible,” but noted, “We could have done this with a year or 16 months advance [planning], but to do it in three to six weeks is really a near impossibility from a public safety and health standpoint,” he continued. “As someone who as here for 1999 [Woodstock’s troubled 30th anniversary concert in nearby Rome, N.Y., which was marred by violence and fires], some names have changed but it’s largely the same situation.”

A rep for Woodstock 50 responded: “In response to the denial of an event permit by the Town of Vernon, Woodstock 50 believes certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the Festival. Local reports claim Woodstock’s filing for the permit was ‘incomplete’ but that is not the case. Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the Town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did. With a venue chosen, financing assembled and many of the artist’s supporting Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary event, the organizers are hopeful that their appeal and reapplication tonight will prevail without further political interference.”

Just five weeks from the festival, which is scheduled to take place on the weekend of Aug. 16-18, Woodstock 50 has no venue, nor have tickets gone on sale. 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.

Vernon Downs was proposed but never confirmed as the most recent site for Woodstock 50. On Monday night the festival was called a “recipe for disaster” by the local head of emergency services at a town meeting in Vernon.

Oneida Country Head of Emergency Services Kevin Revere made that comment when speaking of the serious challenges local authorities face in planning an event expected to draw some 65,000 people in just five weeks, while Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol said the festival should take place in August 2020, not 2019, according to WKTV.

Greg Peck, the president of Woodstock 50, LLC, responded:

“We understand the public safety and traffic concerns of the local community. We have been working diligently over the last several weeks to secure the permits needed to hold the festival, and will continue to work with Law Enforcement and Public Safety Officials to present a cohesive safety and traffic plan that will be satisfactory in addressing the concerns.  We appreciate the honest feedback from the Town of Vernon and will continue to address their comments as we enter the final planning phases for Woodstock 50.  We are confident that this careful planning and consideration of community concerns will result in a safe, world-class Festival.’’

However, today’s setback is the latest in many for Woodstock 50, and many insiders tell Variety that time ran out long ago for staging a successful and well-organized festival.

More Music

  • Terry Wakefield Exits Sony/ATV to Head

    Terry Wakefield Exits Sony/ATV to Head Up A&R at UMPG Nashville

    After a decades-long tenure at Sony/ATV Nashville, Terry Wakefield has followed another alumnus, Troy Tomlinson, across town to take a top position at Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville. Wakefield is senior VP of A&R at UMPG after having been senior VP of creative in his previous post. Personal loyalty to Tomlinson, UMPG Nashville’s recently named chairman/CEO, [...]

  • Sally Williams at PBS Country Music

    Sally Williams to Leave Longtime Opry Home for Top Post at Live Nation in Nashville

    Nashville executive Sally Williams is leaving Opry Entertainment, where she rose to the top over a two-decade tenure there, to join Live Nation’s regional office as the president of Nashville music and business strategy, the company announced Monday. Live Nation said Williams will not only lead programming and marketing for their concerts in the area, [...]

  • 'Welcome to New York The Empire

    Woodstock 50's Permit Denial Heap Keeps Growing

    In what’s become a broken record for music journalists everywhere, Woodstock 50 was once again denied a permit to hold its event, slated for Aug. 16 to 18, as a daytime festival at Vernon Downs in upstate New York. Previous attempts to convince the town of Vernon, on June 18 and July 3, were rejected [...]

  • London's CODA Agency Formally Becomes a

    Paradigm Agency Formally Absorbs London's CODA Into the Fold

    After five years of working together, London’s CODA Agency has formally become a part of Paradigm and will continue under its U.S. partner’s banner. The London office of what is now a fully integrated Paradigm will continue to be led by Alex Hardee, Tom Schroeder, James Whitting and Dave Hallybone. In a statement otherwise laden [...]

  • Mariah Carey

    Mariah Carey Signs With CAA

    Mariah Carey has returned to CAA for representation worldwide after moving to UTA in 2015. Throughout her 30-year career, the five-time Grammy winner has released some of the best-selling albums of all time, including “Music Box,” which racked up more than 28 million in sales, and “Daydream,” which sold 20 million copies. Her other albums, [...]

  • Art Neville of The Meters performs

    Art Neville of the Meters and the Neville Brothers Dies at 81

    Art Neville, one of the key figures of New Orleans music as a member of the Meters and later the Neville Brothers, died Monday. He was 81. Neville’s manager, Kent Sorrell, confirmed the death. “It was peaceful,” Sorrell told Nola.com. “He passed away at home with his adoring wife Lorraine by his side. He toured [...]

  • Roddy Rich

    Roddy Ricch Signs Wide-Ranging Deal With Kobalt

    Kobalt has signed Roddy Ricch to a wide-ranging exclusive worldwide deal in which the company will have full administration of the rapper, singer, songwriter and producer’s catalog, as well as publishing, creative services and synch for his future works. Ricch is a relative newcomer, first emerging onto the music scene in 2017 with the release [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content