Woodstock 50 promoter Michael Lang accused his former business partners of having “illegally swept” $17 million from the festival bank account, and said they were attempting to “suffocate and kill” the anniversary event.

Set to take place on the weekend of August 16-18 at Watkins Glen International Speedway in New York, the festival first ran into trouble when tickets were not put on sale as scheduled. Later, financiers Dentsu announced Woodstock 50 had been canceled after they’d backed out, while Lang insisted it would go ahead without them.

In the latest round of challenges, Lang – who co-founded the original Woodstock in 1969 – accused Dentsu of several unlawful acts. In a five-page document seen by Rolling Stone, he said Dentsu had “illegally swept approximately $17 million from the festival bank account.”

“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," he continued. "In these actions too, Dentsu has acted not only without honor, but outside of the law.”

Lang claimed that Dentsu blocked the ticket launch “for no apparent reason.” He argued that, in response to concerns that the festival would lose money, he presented “multiple plans illustrating a slight profit and substantiated these plans with supporting documents. However, for reasons not explained to us, it seemed to fall on deaf ears.”

He said that, in “taking over” the festival then announcing its cancellation, Dentsu had acted beyond its competencies, and that the listing of its subsidiary Amplifi Live as co-producer had been arranged for reasons of “optics” alone.

Once again insisted the festival would go ahead, Lang wrote, “It is one thing if your company, Dentsu, wanted to back out of its commitment to Woodstock because it would not make as much money as it had hoped, but to try to suffocate and kill Woodstock so that we could not have a festival for our Golden Anniversary without you is puzzling for any company, let alone one that claims reform.”


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