Kasowitz Files Suit Against Dentsu For Destroying Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival
Kasowitz Benson Torres, on behalf of Woodstock 50, LLC, has sued international advertising and public relations giant Dentsu Group and certain affiliates, alleging that they are responsible for the destruction of the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival (the “Festival”), which Woodstock 50, LLC was producing and Dentsu agreed to finance. The Festival, scheduled to take place in August 2019, was to be one of the iconic musical and cultural events of our era.
The complaint, filed today in New York state court, alleges that Dentsu induced its affiliate Amplifi Live to breach its contract with Woodstock 50 to produce the Festival, and then to seize control of it in order to cancel the event. Dentsu proceeded to interfere with Woodstock 50’s contracts with performers and others, to defame Woodstock 50, and to damage its business prospects. As a result of Dentsu’s egregious conduct, Woodstock 50 seeks to recover the tens of millions of dollars in damages it suffered, in addition to punitive damages for the defendants’ outrageous misconduct.
Before Dentsu scuttled it, the Festival was to be a momentous three-day music event celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the legendary 1969 Woodstock festival. Dentsu’s affiliate Amplifi Live had agreed to provide $49 million in financing to support the Festival’s production. In the run-up to the event, Woodstock 50 secured the use of Watkins Glen International raceway’s grounds, and signed up a stellar lineup of talent to perform at the Festival, including Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, Halsey, and Janelle Monáe, as well as legacy acts from the original Woodstock such as Carlos Santana and John Fogerty. Despite the incredible talent that had signed on, Dentsu and its affiliates -- apparently concerned that the Festival might not be as profitable as they had hoped -- sabotaged the Festival, unlawfully withdrew over $18 million of Festival funds, and falsely claimed that the Festival had been cancelled. Dentsu then prevented Woodstock 50 from proceeding with the Festival by wrongfully attempting to claw back Festival funds paid to talent and other vendors, convincing those Festival partners to abandon their business arrangements with the Festival. In addition, Dentsu, weaponizing its vast media network, launched a massive disparagement campaign against Woodstock 50, falsely telling the world that the Festival could not be staged safely and successfully. As a result of Dentsu's continued interference, Woodstock 50 was unable to raise alternative funding and obtain a permit to stage the Festival.
The Kasowitz team representing Woodstock 50 is led by founding partner Marc E. Kasowitz and includes partners David E. Ross and Albert Shemmy Mishaan and associate Nefertiti J. Alexander.