July 10, 2019 12:36 pm

Woodstock 50 denied permit for new venue

A poster from the official Woodstock 50 website advertising the August 2019 festival.

Woodstock 50 Official Website

With less than six weeks left until the scheduled kickoff of the troubled Woodstock 50 festival, things don’t seem to be working in favour of its hopeful organizers.

After losing their initial site, Watkins Glen International, last month, the team behind the anniversary festival has been in a dire search for a new venue to host the upcoming event.

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Over the last three weeks, one of Woodstock’s main contenders has been Vernon Downs, a hotel and horse-racing track in Oneida County, near Utica, N.Y., as reported by the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Although the venue was never advertised or confirmed as a possible Woodstock 50 host by either the festival organizers or representatives of the venue, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang claimed in a recent interview with Rolling Stone that it was one of the “three or four” sites his team had in mind.

In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015, file photo, Michael Lang speaks during a tour at the former Zena Elementary School in Woodstock, N.Y.

AP Photo/Mike Groll, File

Lang, 74, and the festival’s other organizers reportedly applied to the proposed site in late June, however, according to Variety, their application was denied by Vernon Downs earlier this week.

READ MORE: Woodstock 50 woes continue, but organizers still have hope festival will go on

The Woodstock 50 team is expected to appeal the venue’s decision.

Oneida County executive Anthony Picente Jr. told Variety the organizers only had five days to do so.

“What they have submitted to date has not met many of the [venue’s] requirements,” Picente said, adding that he believes it’s “highly unlikely” that plans for Woodstock 50 to take place at Vernon Downs will proceed.

This March 30, 2004 file photo, shows the grandstands at Vernon Downs in Verona, N.Y.

AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli, File

He also suggested the potentially scaled-down version of the festival would no longer include camping, as it once did at its former 100,000 plus capacity venue.

“Originally, it was going to be a three-day festival, but then [the organizers] said instead it would be three one-day events, with all 65,000 people vacating the grounds at the end of each day,” Picente explained.

“It’s been chaotic.”

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The statement continued: “We could have done this with a year or 16 months advance [to prepare], but to do it in three to six weeks is really a near impossibility from a public safety and health standpoint.”

Global News has reached out to representatives from Woodstock 50, the Oneida County government and Vernon Downs for further clarification on the matter.

A van decorated with “Woodstock or Bust” at the original Woodstock Festival site in Bethel, N.Y.

Stephen Chernin / AP Photo

With little time to spare, the likelihood of Woodstock 50 going forward is dwindling, along with the hopes of many of its potential ticket buyers.

Here’s how some social media users reacted to the news:

Tickets were initially set to go on sale back in April.

READ MORE: Woodstock 50 co-founder says investors trying to ‘suffocate and kill’ music festival

With no recent major developments regarding the festival, it’s currently unclear when — or if — tickets for the festival will actually go on sale.

Woodstock 50 is set to take place between Aug. 16-18.


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