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Michael Lang (Andrew F. Kazmierski /

Michael Lang Points Finger Squarely At Former Financial Partner Over Woodstock

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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) Michael Lang has officially fired back at former Woodstock 50 financial partner Dentsu Aegis Network, which issued the original announcement that the festival was canceled.

Lang, one of the original organizers of the 1969 event of the same name, claims that Dentsu drained $17 million from the festival’s coffers and accused it of coercing artists to cancel their engagements at the upcoming festival in exchange for a slot at the 2020 Olympics. Lang has insisted that the festival, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of original Woodstock, is still expected to take place in  Watkins Glen, N.Y., Aug. 15-18. Headliner The Black Keys recently pulled out of the event as did promoter Superfly.

Lang sent a letter to Dentsu and distributed it to media outlets on Monday. In it, Lang asked the company to “honor the law and your obligations, stop interfering with our efforts to put on this wonderful event and return the $17 million you improperly took.”

The letter alleges Dentsu’s investment branch, Amplifi, “illegally swept approximately $17 million from the festival bank account” on April 29, the same day Dentsu announced that Woodstock was canceled, without Lang’s knowledge or approval.

“As a result and after careful consideration, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved,” the statement said.

However, despite the cancellation announcement, other festival organizers insisted that the statement from Dentsu Aegis is false and that the festival is still on.

“Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival’s cancellation and legal remedy will (be) sought,” Woodstock 50 organizers said in a statement provided to the Poughkeepsie Journal.

In the letter, organizers accuse Dentsu of illegal activity: “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 favorably by Dentsu,” he wrote, “and that this could result in their performing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where Dentsu is a major organizer. In these actions too, Dentsu has acted not only without honor, but outside of the law.”

Lang added,  “since your team announced that the festival was canceled, I have received multiple reports and evidence that Dentsu has directly contacted all stakeholders, including the venue Watkins Glen International, insurance companies, producers, vendors and performers (some of whom I am lucky to count as personal friends) and suggested they not do business with me, and violate their contracts with my company. Your team has gone so far as to promise indemnification to these contracted parties should they back out of our contracts.”
“In the end, since Dentsu has already abandoned Woodstock, all I ask for is that Dentsu walk away peacefully and allow me to deliver to the people a 50th Anniversary Festival. Again, I respectfully ask that Dentsu stop its obstructionist actions with the talent and stakeholders. We feel we now have a window to come together with you to peacefully resolve this matter and create a wonderful and special festival.”
Dentsu responded in a statement published by Variety, saying,  “As financial partner, we had the customary rights one would expect to protect a large investment. After we exercised our contractual right to take over, and subsequently, cancel the festival, we simply recovered the funds in the festival bank account, funds which we originally put in as financial partner.”

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