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Monday, January 24, 2022

Woodstock festival co-creator Michael Lang dies at 77

NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Lang, co-creator and promoter of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival that served as a touchstone to generations of music fans, has died.

Lange’s family spokesman Michael Pagnota said Sunday that the 77-year-old was battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma and died Saturday at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“He was absolutely a historical figure, and a great man as well,” Pagnotta, who said he had known Lange for nearly 30 years, told the Associated Press. “Those two things go hand in hand.”

Along with partners Artie Kornfeld, John Roberts and Joel Rosenman, Lang put together a festival billed as “Three Days of Peace and Music” in the summer of 1969, as the Vietnam War raged on and a growing number of disaffected young Americans. Inspired the number to move away from the traditional. and adopted a lifestyle that celebrated freedom of expression.

About 400,000 people disembarked in the village of Bethel, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of New York City, and faced miles of traffic jams, torrential rains, food shortages and overcrowded sanitation facilities. More than 30 acts were performed on the concert’s main stage at the base of a hill on land owned by farmer Max Yasgur, and concerts were held with iconic performances from artists including Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, The Who and Jefferson Airplane. considered for.

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Lang, with a head of thick brown hair, is seen in Michael Wadley’s 1970 documentary film, which led to the celebration.

Lang wrote in his memoir, “From the beginning, I believed that if we did our job right and heart, lay the ground and set the right tone, people would reveal their higher selves and do something wonderful. will build.” Woodstock.”

Lang and others sought to hold a concert to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original Woodstock in 2019, but financial issues and difficulty securing a venue ultimately shelved the effort. In an interview with the AP at the time, Lang called the experience “a truly bizarre journey” and said he still hoped to hold concerts in the future.

Although Woodstock is often seen as creating the template for large-scale concerts, this was not the first time in the US. Two years earlier, the Monterey Pop Festival drew nearly 200,000 people to California and the 1968 Miami Pop Festival. Was. followed, which Lang also organized. But Woodstock nonetheless holds an indelible place in history.

“A lot of them are modeled after Woodstock – Bonnaroo and Coachella,” Lang said of the other festivals in a 2009 interview. “There was a ritual that was created that keeps on repeating.”

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