Michael Lang, organizer and co-creator of the legendary 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair, died of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Saturday. A representative confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 77.
Lang, a Brooklyn native, began his music-promotion career with the 1968 Miami Pop Festival, which featured Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa. The following year, at the age of 24, Lang conceived of Woodstock along with co-founders John Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld, and John P. Roberts. The event, which became a seminal moment in music history, drew crowds of nearly half a million, causing a monumental traffic jam and eventual shutdown of the New York State Thruway. The festival’s lineup included the Grateful Dead, the Who, Santana, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Ravi Shankar, Sly and the Family Stone, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, among others. Lang went on to stage two additional Woodstock festivals, in 1994 and 1999. Both were plagued with logistical issues and the latter was the subject of a recent HBO documentary in which Lang appeared. Lang also attempted to organize a Woodstock 50th anniversary event in 2019, but plans quickly unraveled due to a lack of proper funding and planning.