VERNON, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The CEO of Vernon Downs Casino & Hotel continues to push for Woodstock 50, despite the music festival being denied a permit to operate at his venue last week.
CEO Jeff Gural said Monday despite concerns about overcrowding and last minute planning it would be a mistake for the Town of Vernon to not give Woodstock 50 another chance to make its case.
“You have to give it a try if it doesn’t work we won’t do it again,” said Gural.
Local law enforcement and neighbors have expressed concerns about the estimated 65,000 fans and the tight 30-day window for planning. Gural said these concerns should have been expressed before Woodstock 50 organizers came to make their pitch.
“I guess if you want to have a sleepy little town and no future for your children, say no. Because I’m sure the kids growing up there want to leave. It’s heartbreaking,” said Gural.
“I mean I’m trying to keep an open mind, but this is an event that we should be talking about holding in August of 2020 or 2021, not August of 2019,” said Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol.
Woodstock 50 only shifted their attention to Vernon Downs in mid-June after Watkins Glen said no to the festival for a laundry list of reason. Gural said like anything, you have to take the good with the bad but in the case of Woodstock 50 in Vernon, he thinks the good far outweighs the bad.
“Vernon, New York is not a thriving community and if [Woodstock 50] could revitalize the town like the town that hosts the Bonnaroo Musical Festival in Tennessee, why wouldn’t we give it a try,” said Gural.
While that success may be a possibility, “The Bonnaroo Musical Festival,” was not planned in a month and the town it takes place in Manchester, Tennessee is about 10 times the size of Vernon.
For now, leaders in Central New York still need convincing.
“I need to see rock solid proof that this is going to be a safe event and a well-planned event and you know what less than 30 days to plan an event of this magnitude. it is not safe for the public,” said Sheriff Maciol.
Woodstock 50 organizers are appealing the Town of Vernon’s decision to deny their permit and have submitted a 500-page expanded plan.
The festival is encouraging neighbors to attend an open house event at Vernon Downs on Tuesday, July 15 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to learn more about the proposed music festival.