Woodstock 50 Appeals Second Denial from Town of VernonVariety — Jem Aswad
Organizers of the beleaguered Woodstock 50 festival appealed a second denial from the most recent proposed site of their event late Thursday. The initial application for a permit was rejected Tuesday because it was incomplete and received too late, and a second one was denied late Thursday for similar reasons.
“Time does not permit me to cite all the deficiencies,” said town building inspector Reay Walker, in a four-page letter denying the application, according to Syracuse.com. A rep for the town declined further comment when contacted by Variety.
In a statement issued late Thursday, a rep for the festival wrote, “Woodstock 50 this morning appealed a decision by the Town of Vernon to turn down a permit needed to hold its 50th Anniversary Festival at Vernon Downs. We also have submitted a comprehensive new application that is nearly 500 pages in length that spells out in great detail our plans for security, traffic and medical emergencies. We believe there was no legal reason for the Town to turn down the original permit application. We hope that for the good of the local and regional economy of central New York and for the health of the Town’s largest employer, Vernon Downs, officials will grant the requested permit on an expedited basis and agree to host what will be a safe, world-class and historic event.”
Walker said the plans for medical care, traffic control, crowd control and security were incomplete. The security plan, he said, had “long list of shifts, activities, numbers of staff,” but failed to name which agencies would provide that staffing. He also noted that town law requires such a permit to be filed at least 120 days before the event, and noted that this one, filed 35 days before the event, “is untimely and rejected for that reason, as well as all the other deficiencies.”
Variety broke the news Tuesday that the permit had been rejected after the festival was criticized during a Vernon town meeting as a “recipe for disaster” by the local head of emergency services. Oneida Country Executive Anthony Picente Jr. told Variety that “what they have submitted to date has not met many of the requirements” to stage the festival and the chances of it taking place in Oneida Country seem “highly unlikely.
“It’s been chaotic,” he said of the past few weeks’ scramble to stage the festival at Vernon Downs, which has no camping facilities, after the previous proposed venue, Watkins Glen International speedway, pulled out last month. “Originally it was going to be a three-day festival, but then [the producers] said instead it would be three one-day events, with all 65,000 or however many people vacating the grounds at the end of each day.” Billboard reports that the projected audience has been lowered to 35,000, although reps for the festival did not confirm that number.
The festival, which is scheduled to feature a blockbuster lineup including Jay-Z, Dead & Co., Miley Cyrus and many others, has been plagued by organizational and financial difficulties since it was announced: The original financial backer, Dentsu Aegis, pulled out in May; Watkins Glen International speedway, followed last month.