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Local Leaders Disappointed, Confused Over Woodstock Cancellation


VESTAL, NY (WSKG) -- The Mayor of Watkins Glen was surprised to learn Woodstock 50 wouldn’t come to his village this summer.

The concert was supposed to be held August 16-18 at the Watkins Glen International Speedway. The lineup included several genres and artists like Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus and John Fogerty.

A Billboard report this week the financial backer, Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, pulled funds effectively cancelling it. Still, organizer Michael Lang wrote on Facebook that he will still hold the music festival.

All this has left Watkins Glen Mayor Luke Leszyk confused.

“You know, you say its going to happen and then we’re told it’s not going to happen. Then someone is running around saying it is going to happen," he said. "So, we just plug along and do what we’re supposed to be doing on our end.”

If Woodstock 50 is back on, Mayor Leszyk says Watkins Glen will be ready.  However, at this point, he’s preparing for no festival.

Leszyk also owns a lodging company for vacationers. He’s cancelled reservations for the weekend, but adds some of those spots have already been refilled.  "I'm sure some of the longer-stays, I'm sure some of the other, bigger, hotels might have had people in for weeks that were part of the promoters or part of the staff setting up up there," he explained. "They might hurt more than me."

Leszyk added the cancellation will have no effect on planned projects that benefit Watkins Glen International Speedway. This includes work on the water system.

On the state level, leaders lamented this week's news. "“It certainly would’ve had a substantial economic impact on our region from hotel and motel taxes to sales taxes and from economic activity," said Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, who's district includes Watkins Glen. "I think it would’ve been a great thing for our area and our region and certainly was disappointed with the announcement that came through.”

Palmesano’s senate counterpart, Tom O’Mara, called the news a "deep disappointment".

The likely cancellation comes just weeks after a delay in ticket sales for Woodstock. Reports say that was because organizers did not get a permit on time from the New York Department of Health.