The town of Vernon USA has rejected a permit for Woodstock 50 at the Vernon Downs Racecourse and the owner of the racecourse, Jeff Gural, is mighty pissed off.
Jeff Gural said that he has been trying to get a festival at this location for seven years. He pleaded with the Vernon Planning Board to go ahead with the Woodstock Festival stating that racing is almost obsolete.
“Vernon Downs is a dying business,” he told the committee. “Horse Racing is a dying business. There is nothing I can do to get young people interested. It is what it is. This is an opportunity to revitalise the town and put Vernon back on the map”.
Gural cited economic benefits to the town of around $50 million. “If we don’t get permission to do this thing I’m not going to try again,” he said. “If you guys don’t want it, you don’t want it. It will be a catastrophic mistake that people will remember for as long as can be,” he concluded.
The Woodstock 50 Festival was announced in January for 16-18 August to mark the 50th anniversary of the original festival. In April after backer Dentsu Aegis pulled out the festival looked like all but over although organizer Michael Lang insisted that it was going ahead.
In a statement to Noise11 at the time Lang confirmed, “We are committed to ensuring that the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock is marked with a festival deserving of its iconic name and place in American history and culture. Although our financial partner is withdrawing, we will of course be continuing with the planning of the festival and intend to bring on new partners. We would like to acknowledge the State of New York and Schuyler County for all of their hard work and support. The bottom line is, there is going to be a Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival, as there must be, and it’s going to be a blast.”
Woodstock 50 was/is to feature current acts Jay-Z, The Killers and Miley Cyrus on a bill featuring original Woodstock performers including David Crosby, John Fogerty and Melanie.
The decision to halt the festival in Vernon is about logistics of time. The town has rejected the application by Woodstock 50 for a second time claiming organising the event one more out is a logistic impossibility. This is the second time the committee has voted to stop the festival from going ahead.
Organisers faced an earlier issue when the previous site in Watkins Glen fell through.
At this stage Woodstock 50 has not yet been officially cancelled or postponed. Lang had until close of business Wednesday to put in an objection to the second denial. He did not.