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Woodstock 50 organizer says financing firm using 2020 Olympics as bargaining chip to get talent to drop out

(WBNG) — The organizer of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock celebration planned to take place in Watkins Glen is claiming a company that used to be involved in the event committed a plethora of wrongdoings, including trying to influence performers to pull out of the festival with hopes of performing in the 2020 Olympics.

A letter dated May 6 was sent by Michael Lang to Dentsu Aegis Network, a company which was helping finance Woodstock 50 until it pulled its involvement in late April. The letter was supplied to 12 News by Sitrick & Company, an organization helping Woodstock 50 with public relations.

In the letter addressed to Dentsu’s president and CEO, Toshihiro Yamamoto, Lang outlines several complaints about Dentsu’s involvement with Woodstock 50 and its conduct after dropping its involvement.

Lang claims that Dentsu Chief Commercial Officer DJ Martin had expressed to Lang that the company would not interfere with the planning of the celebration, scheduled for August 16-18. He explained that he was later given a contract by Martin that placed another company, Amplifi, as co-organizer. Lang says he was reassured by Martin that the contract was for “optics only”.

Lang continued to assert that Woodstock was given conditional approval of a mass gathering permit by the New York State Department of Health on April 22, the day they intended to start selling tickets, but that Dentsu blocked this for no reason.

On April 29, Lang claims that the Woodstock team had received a notice from Dentsu that they had taken over control of and canceled the festival, both of which he claims Dentsu had no legal right to do. He then says media was notified that Woodstock 50 was canceled without any notice to the Woodstock organizers.

Read more: Lang: WGI still site for ‘Woodstock 50’, musicians already paid

Going even further, Lang wrote that Dentsu proceeded to contact Watkins Glen International, vendors, stake holders, and performers to suggest they do not do business with Lang. In regards to the performers, Lang claims that Dentsu made a bold promise.

“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 and that this could result in their performing the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where Dentsu is a major organizer,” Lang writes. “In these actions too, Dentsu has acted not only without honor, but outside of the law.”

A spokesperson for Dentsu Aegis Network released this statement in response when asked about Lang’s letter:

“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. Further, tickets cannot go on sale for an event prior to obtaining a mass gathering permit, which has still not been granted. Beyond that, we stand by original statement made last week.”
Tickets have yet to go on sale. Performers like Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, and Imagine Dragons were announced back in March.
You can read Lang’s full letter to Dentsu below:

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