Less than a month away from its much-heralded 50th anniversary, the effort to stage a Woodstock Festival suffered what could be a final blow.
On Tuesday night, July 16, the town board of Vernon in Central New York once-and-for-all denied legacy festival producer Michael Lang and his various producing and financing cohorts, including potential host site Vernon Downs Casino and Racetrack, any and all permits.
Lang, of Woodstock, his Woodstock 50 partner Greg Peck of California, and last-minute producing partner Virgin Produced and its CEO Jason Felts had appealed a string of previous denials in a last-minute attempt to hold a series of single day concerts featuring its paid-for talent, and busing attendees in from nearby parking lots.
Felts and Virgin Produced announced that it had “officially concluded its consulting role with respect to the company and the proposed festival” within two hours of the town officials’ decision.
“Woodstock 50 is disappointed that the Town of Vernon has passed up the opportunity to hold the historic 50th Anniversary Festival by denying our robust and thoughtful proposal,” read a statement released by Lang and Peck later on the evening of July 16. “…We want to thank the artists who stood by us. We are grateful for the support of Vernon Downs and its generous owner Jeffrey Gural.”
In newspaper accounts of the Woodstock Festival’s tribulations this week, Lang sounded jaded, if also characteristically upbeat…and somewhat cryptic. “If it doesn’t work this year, it doesn’t work this year. We’ve tried everything we can. We’ve done our best. We’ll continue to do our best until we find out one way or the other whether it’s going to happen.”