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Has the Woodstock 50th Anniversary Festival Been Canned?

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Woodstock 50
PHOTO | Hulton Archive
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The fate of the summer’s most hyped festival remains unclear after Woodstock 50 investors announced their decision to pull funding for the summer music event — and cancel it.

More than 100,000 people were expected to attend the event scheduled to take place at the original site at the Watkins Glen International Speedway in New York from August 16-18th.

The investors, the Dentsu Aegis Network, reported site readiness, capacity, and permit issues as reasons for the cancellation.

In a statement sent to Billboard on April 29th, the Network explained that, “despite our tremendous investment of time, effort and commitment, we don’t believe the production of the festival can be executed as an event worthy of the Woodstock Brand name while also ensuring the health and safety of the artists, partners and attendees.”

As a result, the statement continues, “Dentsu Aegis Network’s Amplifi Live, a partner of Woodstock 50, has decided to cancel the festival. As difficult as it is, we believe this is the most prudent decision for all parties involved.”

According to the same Billboard report, more than $30 million had already been spent on the event, which includes payments to artists on the line-up. Whether those artists are still contractually required to perform remains to be seen.

Michael Lang, Woodstock co-founder, and promoter, told CNN that the Network’s decision to cancel the event undermines the festival’s organizers.

“It is one thing to decide for oneself that it is best to move on, but it is entirely another thing to try and close the door on us,” he asserted, adding, “Woodstock never belonged to Dentsu, so they don’t have a right to cancel it.”

Lang publicly expressed interest in finding the remaining funding needed to move forward with Woodstock 50. However, since Dentsu announced it would pull the plug on the festival, Woodstock organizers filed a suit in the New York Supreme Court on May 8.

According to Rolling Stone, Lang  “[…] and other organizers requested an injunction that would, among other things, force Dentsu to hand over $17.8 million in disputed funds and continue work on the festival.” A hearing is scheduled to take place in New York on Monday, the site added.

The lineup was announced in early March and features headlining acts from both the Woodstock and modern eras.

The Killers, Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, the Black Keys, and Halsey were just some of the artist set to perform alongside original Woodstock 1969 performers: John Fogerty, Santana, and Dead and Company.

Tickets for the three-day festival were set to go on sale on April 22. As of now, the Woodstock 50 official website reports that tickets will go on sale “soon.”

In the meantime, festival organizers remain hopeful: “Our intention holds firm. To deliver a world-class, once-in-a-lifetime festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. To honor a cultural icon that changed the way we think about music and togetherness… and will do so again,” according to Woodstock.com.

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Legendary Guitarist Carlos Santana to Launch Premium Cannabis Brand

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Carlos Santana
PHOTO | Carlos Santana

Legendary guitarist and long-time cannabis advocate Carlos Santana is getting into the business, becoming the latest musician to partner with Left Coast Ventures.

The products will include premium cannabis and hemp CBD products specifically chosen to pay homage to Santana’s Latin heritage while leveraging the power of ancient therapies and enable consumers to uncover and “follow their light,” according to Left Coast Ventures.

According to a press release, the collab will “honor Santana’s heritage while incorporating his divine philosophies by identifying strains and products that promote the spiritual consciousness and wellness effects of cannabis.”

The cannabis line will include flower and pre-rolls and is expected for a summer 2020 launch in select Californian dispensaries.

The hemp CBD brand is looking at a fall launch and will include topicals with formulations inspired by Santana’s family.

“Cannabis is a window or a door to different awareness of consciousness,” said Santana in a statement. “It gives you the choice to perceive through a different filter of awakening and healing, the misperception of distance as an illusion, which keeps you from being centered in your essence-core. It helps you arrive at knowing, accepting and owning a quality of life that is being with joy!”

10-time Grammy winner, Woodstock veteran and Hall of Fame guitarist Santana is the latest musician to join Left Coast Ventures’ list of partners. The company has previously launched cannabis products with Mickey Hart, drummer of the Grateful Dead (Mind Your Head) and the Bob Marley estate (Marley Natural).

“We are excited to launch cannabis and hemp CBD brands that deeply respect Latin heritage and celebrate the unique light of every individual,” said Brett Cummings, CEO of Left Coast Ventures.

“It’s a true honor to work with a dynamic legendary musician like Santana who has influenced millions through his music and shares our values and passion to legitimize the future of cannabis.”

Carlos Santana is currently on a world tour. Find out if he’s playing near you.

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Sharon Stone Sues Chanel West Coast Over “Sharon Stoned”

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Sharon Stoned

From shout-outs to disses, namedrops are nothing new in rap. But when does a shout-out become something more? That’s a question Sharon Stone is asking Chanel West Coast — through her lawyers.

The iconic actress is suing the rapper for using her name “for commercial purposes” in the track “Sharon Stoned” without Stone’s consent.

The suit notes that the 2018 track turns Stone’s name into a hook, with the music video that followed in April of this year recreating scenes from Stone’s movies, including the interrogation scene from Basic Instinct.

It alleges that Chanel West Coast, whose real name is Chelsea Chanel Dudley, is “an aspiring rap artist who has desperately sought to garner credibility and stature in the hip-hop community,” by “attempting to capitalize on the former’s “extraordinary level of popularity and fame,” and it was the rapper’s intention to “trade on the fame and publicity rights of Sharon Stone for commercial gain.”

The suit contains a detailed breakdown of Stone’s career, from her roles and philanthropic endeavors, which is why she “maintains strict control over the manner in which her name, likeness, image, identity and persona are used,” and claims that Dudley infringed upon Stone’s identity and used Stone’s name “as a celebrity endorser” by using Stone’s name with “mantra-like repetition” in the lyrics, as “Defendant Dudley gratuitously repeats the name ‘Sharon Stone’ thirty-three times and the name ‘Sharon’ ninety-nine times.”

Stone also has an issue with the accompanying music video that uses her likeness as “celebrity endorser to promote the sale of cannabis paraphernalia without her permission or consent,” due to the product placement for Shine Papers.

The suit claims that the song and video show a “disregard of Sharon Stone’s right of privacy and publicity, and of her exclusive right to control the use and exploitation of her name, likeness, image, identity and persona,” and seeks punitive damages and any profits Dudley may have made from the song and video.

The suit contains quotes from Dudley in which she discusses wanting to “redo some classic, iconic Sharon Stone movie scenes” in the music video.

Dudley said in a statement that she was “surprised and disappointed” and claimed Stone was fully aware of the song, being set to appear in the music video, but “[Sharon] pulled out of participating in the music video the day of the shoot after months of conversations, in-person meetings with myself and the director, two dance rehearsals and even had her own ideas that she shared with myself and my team for the collaborative on the video.”

“To be frank, the entire production team and myself were surprised when she walked off,” said Dudley.

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A$AP Rocky Officially Charged With Assault in Sweden

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A$AP Rocky Officially Charged

When rapper A$AP Rocky went to Europe to start his Injured Generation tour, few expected it would end with him being accused of assault in Sweden and detained, facing up to two years of jail time if found guilty.

After an altercation between Rocky — real name is Rakim Mayers — his bodyguard, two performers from his show and two men surfaced on TMZ in late June. News quickly spread that “the rapper voluntarily went to the police” for questioning and was immediately taken into custody on July 3 — where he has been since.

Despite the Grammy-nominated rapper claiming they acted in self-defense, even posting video taken of the altercation, the Swedish High Court rejected an appeal arguing he was a flight risk.

Swedish prosecutors have now said in the Stockholm District Court documents that Rocky pushed the man, identified as Mustafa Jafari, to the ground.

Sources say that the rapper is being held in solitary confinement and that conditions in the jail were called “inhumane,” saying that “walking into that place was like walking into a toilet.” Those same sources claimed he was being held in a cell next to a mentally ill inmate known for throwing feces and sleeping on a yoga mat instead of an actual bed.

Swedish law enforcement even raided the hotel room of long-time manager John Ehmann, allegedly confiscating his cell phone and demanding the password to go through the contents. This is an incredibly odd and aggressive move considering Ehmann has nothing to do with the alleged assault.

“[Ehmann] was completely taken aback,” a source said. “[He] had no idea what this was about […] He never saw it coming.”

Hip hop artists and high-profile celebrities alike have expressed their support for A$AP Rocky ever way they could.

Fellow A$AP Mob label mate A$AP Ferg took to Instagram to express support, Tyler the Creator, ScHoolboy Q and Tyga have all either canceled planned shows or sworn to never play a venue in Sweden and stars like Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Justin Beiber, Diddy, T.I., 2 Chainz, Lil Yatchy, G-Eazy, Juicy J, Kid Cudi, Tory Lanez, Machine Gun Kelly and Miguel have all gotten behind the #JusticeForRocky hashtag.

Joining in the #JusticeForRocky hashtag were big names like Shawn Mendes, Kris Jenner, actress Cara Delevingne, former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Naomi Campbell.

Now, even U.S. politicians have gotten involved. President Donald Trump has tweeted on behalf of the jailed rapper, calling on the Swedish prime minister to “treat Americans fairly.”

The State Department raised concerns about the arrest and detention, urging the Swedish government to treat him fairly via a statement.

“There are certainly some facts about the arrest and detention that raise concerns,” the State Department spokesperson said. “We expect all governments, including Sweden, to treat American citizens fairly and with respect. … We hope to see ASAP Rocky and his colleagues back on tour and reunited with friends and family soon.”

Even New York Democrat Representative Adriano Espaillat has responded to the Change.org petition, telling the Associated Press via a statement that he would push to get the rapper home.

“I will continue fighting until A$AP Rocky is released from Swedish prison and brought back,” Rep. Espaillat said.

The man who attacked A$AP Rocky’s crew will NOT be prosecuted for any crime, despite the fact that he incited the violence and persisted in harassing the rapper before he finally snapped.

As of the writing of this article, the Change.org petition had just over 600,000 signatures and counting with a goal of 1 million.

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