Woodstock 50 Organizers Settle Lawsuit Against Financial Partner

Joshua Espinoza
·2 min read

Image via Getty

Woodstock 50 has ended a major legal battle.

According to Billboard, organizers of the ill-fated festival quietly settled their lawsuit against Japanese marketing firm Dentsu in late 2020. Woodstock 50 sued the Tokyo-based company in April of last year, alleging the investor had "secretly decided to abandon, and then sabotage" the anniversary event just months before its scheduled kickoff.

The plaintiffs claimed Dentsu had agreed to pay $49 million to stage the festival, but went on to launch a "massive disparagement campaign" that made it difficult to secure additional funding and the required permits. Woodstock 50 also accused Dentsu of creating excuses to breach their agreement, and unlawfully withdrew about $18 million in funds after falsely claiming the event had been canceled.

Woodstock 50 organizers were seeking "tens of millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages."

"Dentsu and [its affiliate] Amplifi made the cold-blooded decision to exit their investment having nothing to do with any alleged breaches by Woodstock 50, but rather to avoid the potential that the Festival would not make money or not be as successful as they hoped," the suit read.

The defendant denied the allegations in a statement to Rolling Stone.

"Dentsu’s affiliate, Amplifi Live, acted in the best interest of the public last year after Woodstock 50 breached its agreement," a Dentsu representative told the magazine. "After a full evidentiary hearing, the court credited Amplifi Live’s evidence that a safe and profitable festival could not be mounted. And therefore refused to order Amplfi Live to continue funding the project. The parties are about to engage in an arbitration hearing, but Woodstock 50 prefers baseless claims in press releases rather than to have the parties’ dispute decided by arbitrators. Amplfi Live is vigorously defending these claims in arbitration and pursuing breach and fraud claims against Woodstock 50."

Back in October, an arbitration panel reportedly determined that Amplifi had breached its contract, and awarded damages to the Woodstock 50 team. Six weeks later, Dentsu reportedly "agreed to settle a concurrent lawsuit"; however, the terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Woodstock 50 was scheduled to take place in August 2019, and feature performances by Jay-Z, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monáe, and more. It was officially canceled just weeks before its scheduled date.

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