Woodstock 50 promoters reapply for permit to hold festival at Vernon Downs


UPDATE: Promoters for Woodstock 50 have re-submitted their application for a permit to hold the festival at Vernon Downs. They now must wait for an answer from the town.

On Tuesday, the Town of Vernon informed the promoters of the Woodstock 50 festival at Vernon Downs that their application for a permit to conduct three one day concerts at Vernon Downs were denied.

The primary reason seemed to be the time crunch between the proposed dates for the concerts, August 16, 17 and 18th, and the date the application was submitted.

The letter of denial noted that the first time an application was made to the Vernon Code Enforcement Office was June 18, 2019 and that nothing was submitted indicating compliance with the town codes. A second application for the three August dates was submitted on July 3, 2019.

The town codes officials say that the July application did not include material indicating compliance with the town codes. On July 8, 2019, additional documentation was submitted “seeking to partially comply” with town codes.

Town rules indicate that, because the concert proposals indicate an audience of approximately 65,000 people, a temporary permit is required and application for a temporary permit must be submitted 120 days before the event date. Because of the missed deadlines, all six of the applications were rejected.

The Woodstock promoters had five days from the notice by the Vernon Codes Enforcement Office to appeal the denial to the Vernon Town Planning Board. Tuesday night, a spokesperson for Woodstock, Sallie Hofmeister, told Eyewitness News:

In response to the denial of an event permit by the Town of Vernon, Woodstock 50 believes certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the Festival. Local reports claim Woodstock’s filing for the permit was “incomplete” but that is not the case. Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the Town of Vernon that most questions had been answered and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did. With a venue chosen, financing assembled and many of the artist’s supporting Woodstock’s 50th Anniversary event, the organizers are hopeful that their appeal and reapplication tonight will prevail without further political interference. 

As of Wednesday, that appeal had not been filed and a new application to hold the concerts at Vernon Downs had not been submitted.

Hofmeister says that the appeal and a new 500-page application has been prepared and will be submitted Thursday. The Vernon Town Planning Board has the ability to waive the time deadline if the new application by Woodstock meets the requirements to comply with codes.

The Woodstock application for a permit with the state is still pending. State Department of Health says that they are aware of the Town of Vernon rejection and, while the state application is still pending, it cannot be granted unless it complied with all local ordinances.

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