June 25, 2019: Suddenly, Woodstock 50 — if it happens at all — is looking a lot smaller than anticipated: Town of Vernon supervisor Randy Watson tells the Poughkeepsie Journal that the organizers have submitted a permit application at the Vernon Downs racetrack. Kasowitz provides a separate statement to the paper that “Woodstock 50 is proceeding with the planning of the festival and looks forward to holding the festival at another venue with its new partners.” Capacity would now be at 45,000 to 50,000, down from the much bigger 150,000 attendance goal the festival originally had in mind.
July 8, 2019: A Vernon town board meeting is held on the fate of Woodstock 50 where Oneida County Head of Emergency Services Kevin Revere calls the festival a “recipe for disaster.” Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol proposes that the festival be delayed from August 2019 to August 2020 as a safety precaution. “No matter how good the plan looks on paper, to implement this plan in 39 days, is impossible to ensure the safety of the public,” he says. It’s reportedly expressed at the meeting that “the overwhelming consensus is that the residents do not want Woodstock 50 in their backyard.” Woodstock 50 president Greg Peck responds in a statement, “We appreciate the honest feedback from the Town of Vernon and will continue to address their comments as we enter the final planning phases for Woodstock 50. We are confident that this careful planning and consideration of community concerns will result in a safe, world-class Festival.’’
July 9, 2019: Things are back to looking dire as ever. Variety reports that Woodstock 50 has been denied a permit to hold the festival at its hopeful new venue, Vernon Downs. Oneida County Administrator Anthony Picente Jr. confirmed that “what they have submitted to date has not met many of the requirements” and that chances of the festival taking place are “highly unlikely” — at least not in Oneida County. According to Picente Jr., planning had been “chaotic,” with a major roadblock being Vernon Downs does not have camping facilities. Woodstock 50 was meant to be a three-day camping festival, but to accommodate the new venue, producers reportedly proposed that instead it be three one-day events, with all 65,000 attendees (the new adjusted attendance goal) exiting at each day’s end and returning the next. “We could have done this with a year or 16 months advance, but to do it in three to six weeks is really a near impossibility from a public safety and health standpoint,” Picente Jr. says. Festival organizers have five days to appeal the ruling. Woodstock 50 has yet to comment. As it (barely) stands, Woodstock 50 is seemingly still scheduled for August 16-18 … but tickets have also still yet to go on sale.
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