Michael Lang, Woodstock Festival Co-Creator, Dies at 77

NEW YORK — Michael Lang, a co-creator and promoter of the 1969 Woodstock music pageant that served as a touchstone for generations of music followers, has died.

Michael Pagnotta, a spokesperson for Lang’s household, mentioned Sunday the 77-year-old had been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma and handed away Saturday at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Heart.

“He was completely an historic determine, and in addition an excellent man,” Pagnotta, who mentioned he had identified Lang for about 30 years, informed The Related Press. “Each of these factor go hand in hand.”

Together with companions Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, Lang put collectively the pageant billed as “three days of peace and music” in the summertime of 1969 because the Vietnam Warfare raged and led growing numbers of disaffected younger People to show away from conventional mores and embraced a life-style that celebrated freedom of expression.
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Roughly 400,000 folks descended on the hamlet of Bethel, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of New York Metropolis and endured miles-long visitors jams, torrential rains, meals shortages and overwhelmed sanitary amenities. Greater than 30 acts carried out on the live performance’s principal stage on the base of a hill on land owned by farmer Max Yasgur, and concertgoers have been handled to iconic performances from artists together with Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Who and Jefferson Airplane.

Lang, sporting a head of bushy brown hair, is seen all through Michael Wadleigh’s 1970 documentary film that chronicled the pageant.

“From the start, I believed that if we did our job proper and from the guts, ready the bottom and set the fitting tone, folks would reveal their larger selves and create one thing wonderful,” Lang wrote in his memoir, “The Highway to Woodstock.”

Lang and others sought to mount a live performance in 2019 commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the unique Woodstock, however the endeavor in the end was scrapped resulting from monetary points and issue securing a venue. In an interview with the AP on the time, Lang known as the expertise “a extremely weird journey,” and mentioned he nonetheless hoped to carry the live performance sooner or later.

Though Woodstock typically is seen as creating the template for large-scale music festivals, it wasn’t the primary to happen within the U.S. Two years earlier, the Monterey Pop pageant drew about 200,000 folks to California, and in 1968 the Miami Pop Competition adopted, which Lang additionally organized. However Woodstock nonetheless holds an indelible place in historical past.

“Numerous them are modeled after Woodstock — Bonnaroo and Coachella, specifically,” Lang mentioned of different festivals in a 2009 interview. “There was a ritual that was created that retains getting replicated.”


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