Woodstock Organizer Michael Lang Dies at 77
Michael Lang, the man who helped create one of the most iconic moments in music history with the organization of Woodstock in 1969, has died. He was 77.
Lang died last night (Jan. 8) at Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York. Representative and longtime family friend, Michael Pagnotta, confirmed the promoter's death, saying it was caused by a rare form of non-Hodgkin's 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 lineup for the event included Joan Baez, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and many more.
“Everybody was crazy,” Baez told Rolling Stone in 2009. “I guess the collective memories that people have, I have in a sense. It’s the mud and the cops roasting hot dogs and people wandering around in the nude. And the fact that, looking back, it was in fact 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 and at caring and at being political.”
Lang was just 24 when he helped created the festival. “Woodstock came at a really dark moment in America,” Lang also told Rolling Stone in 2009. “An unpopular war, a government that was unresponsive, lots of human rights issues–things were starting to edge toward violence for people to make their points. And along came Woodstock, which was this moment of hope.”
After the success of Woodstock, Lang created Just Sunshine Records in 1971, signing a young Billy Joel. He also co-produced another Woodstock festival in 1994 to mark it's 25th anniversary. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Green Day and Nine Inch Nails all performed. Later, he helped create Woodstock '99 and attempted to host a 50th-anniversary of Woodstock, but the event was scrapped.
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.