Woodstock 50 not giving up despite denial

David Hill
Staff writer
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Posted 7/12/19

VERNON — Promoters of Woodstock 50 aren’t giving up on staging a three-day music festival at Vernon Downs in mid-August, saying they’re going to present their renewed application for a …

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Woodstock 50 not giving up despite denial

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VERNON — Promoters of Woodstock 50 aren’t giving up on staging a three-day music festival at Vernon Downs in mid-August, saying they’re going to present their renewed application for a mass-gathering permit to town officials.

The group trying to stage the festival filed an extensive new permit application to the town earlier Thursday, only to have their publicist issue a statement late Thursday in response to reports that the town had rejected the latest application.

“Woodstock 50 looks forward to formally presenting in person its application to the Town of Vernon at a meeting that officials agreed late Thursday to schedule imminently, once they have had sufficient time to review our exhaustive plan.”

Earlier Thursday, festival organizers said their new application was nearly 500 pages long and spelled out plans for security, traffic and medical emergencies. The town rejected the earlier application on Tuesday, saying it wasn’t filed in time and lacked details.

Town residents had filled the town hall Monday evening, most in opposition, while state police and Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol expressed strong reservations about having to provide law enforcement for such a large event only weeks away.

“We believe there was no legal reason for the town to turn down the original permit application,” the organizers’ statement said. “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.”

Organizers hope to draw as many as 65,000 people to a three-day music festival on the 50th anniversary of the famous rock festival in the Catskills. They had hoped to stage it in the Finger Lakes at Watkins Glen International raceway, site of what’s regarded as one of the largest rock festivals ever, the one-day 1973 Summer Jam featuring the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band and The Band, but track officials pulled out of those plans in June. No definitive reason was given, but planning had stalled during a dispute between organizers and some of the festival’s investors.

Promoters continue to plug the festival on social media. On Twitter Thursday, they said they will announce ticket sales upon permit approval. “Dear Town of Vernon, Woodstock is committed to bringing peace, love and music to The Downs. Will you all let peace, love and music prevail August 16th-18th?”

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