Woodstock organizer Michael Lang dies at 77
Michael Lang, the man who helped create one of the most iconic moments in musical history with the organization of Woodstock in 1969, has passed away. He was 77 years old.
Lang died last night (January 8) at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York City. Representative and long-time family friend Michael Pagnotta has confirmed the promoter’s death, saying it was caused by a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Lang, John P. Roberts, Joel Rosenman and Artie Kornfeld co-created the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. The festival was dubbed “Three Days of Peace and Music” and drew 400,000 people to Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York. The event lineup included Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and many more.
“Everyone was crazy,” Baez said Rolling stone in 2009. “I guess the collective memories that people have, I have them in a way. It’s the mud and the cops roasting hot dogs and the people walking around naked. And the fact that, in hindsight, it was actually a huge deal. It was like a perfect storm and I realized that Woodstock was like the eye of the hurricane because it was different. It was this weekend of love and intimacy and attempts at beauty, benevolence and politics. “
Lang was only 24 when he helped found the festival. “Woodstock came at a very dark time in America,” Lang also said. Rolling stone in 2009. “An unpopular war, an unresponsive government, a lot of human rights issues – things were starting to turn violent for people to make their point. And came Woodstock, which was that moment of hope.
After the success of Woodstock, Lang created Just Sunshine Records in 1971, signing a young Billy Joel. It also co-produced another Woodstock festival in 1994 to mark its 25th anniversary. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Green Day, and Nine Inch Nails all performed. He later helped create Woodstock ’99 and attempted to host a 50th anniversary of Woodstock, but the event was dropped.
Lang is survived by his wife Tamara, their sons, Harry and Laszlo, and his daughters, LariAnn, Shala and Molly. Loudwire would like to send our deepest condolences to Lang’s loved ones at this time.
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