Woodstock 50 organizers reportedly sue investors for sabotage and theft

The beleaguered festival claims $17.8 million was stolen from its bank account by Denstu, a chief investor.

May 09, 2019
Woodstock 50 organizers reportedly sue investors for sabotage and theft Michael Lang at a screening of Taking Woodstock. August 8, 2009.   Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Focus Features

Woodstock 50 has launched a lawsuit against its principal investor, Denstu Aegis Network, TMZ has learned.

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The festival's organizers claim Denstu illegally removed $17.8 million from Woodstock's accounts and sabotaged the 2019 event. Woodstock 50's organizers claim Denstu reached out to scheduled performers and told them the festival was canceled while suggesting that the artists could be selected to perform at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, also sponsored by Denstu. The suit seeks the recovery of $17.8 million, and also claims the festival will go on as planned.

The festival seemed doomed when Denstu announced that it was pulling out on April 29. "Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival," Denstu said in a statement to Billboard, adding "we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners, and attendees."

Woodstock 50 insisted that the festival was still on in a statement issued hours later. "Woodstock 50 vehemently denies the festival's cancelation and legal remedy will [be] sought," the statement read. On May 1, Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang and his attorney Marc Kasowitz claimed things were proceeding smoothly, but days later, reports emerged that Woodstock would be cancelled unless $30 million in funding was secured before May 10.

Woodstock 50 organizers reportedly sue investors for sabotage and theft