Troubled Woodstock 50 festival bids for 'great American comeback'

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The organizers of the troubled Woodstock 50 festival are making a last ditch attempt to save the event next month, pledging jobs and donations to community projects in a bid to win support from residents in a small town in upstate New York.

FILE PHOTO: American singer Miley Cyrus performs on the Pyramid Stage during Glastonbury Festival in Somerset, Britain June 30, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

The organizers said they would hold an open house on Monday night and on Tuesday to present their proposals to residents in Vernon ahead of making a third bid for permits to stage a three-day event marking the 50th anniversary of the famed 1969 “peace and music” festival.

“We hope that, with the help of the people of Vernon (we) can turn Woodstock 50 into a great American comeback story,” Greg Peck, co-owner of Woodstock 50, said in a statement.

With a month to go, tickets have yet to go on sale for the Aug. 16-18 event, which is due to feature Miley Cyrus and Jay-Z and some 80 other musical acts. Some 65,000 people are expected to attend

Authorities have twice turned down applications for permits to hold the festival at the Vernon Downs horse racing track, citing insufficient arrangements for security, sanitation, parking and traffic management.

The organizers turned to Vernon Downs in June after their original investors withdrew their support and the larger Watkins Glen motor racing venue, also in upstate New York, pulled out.

Anthony Picente Jr., the administrator of Oneida County which denied the Vernon Downs permits, said he thought the chances of the festival going ahead at this stage were slim.

“I’d say it was a 99 percent chance that it doesn’t happen at Vernon Downs,” Picente told Reuters in a phone interview last week.

“They are asking us to put together an event that really needs a year of planning in six weeks, and that’s unreasonable, ” he added.

Woodstock 50 organizers said in their statement on Monday they had put “enormous care and thought into our security, safety, traffic and medical plan” and will share the details at the open house.

They said they “could foresee” hiring local residents to help with ticketing, logistical support and security, if the festival was granted a permit.

Real estate developer Jeffrey Gural, the owner of Vernon Downs, added that he would be prepared to make a contribution to local non-profit organizations from the proceeds of Woodstock 50.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Cynthia Osterman