Woodstock Co-Creator Michael Lang passed away this weekend at the age of 77. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Lang passed away at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York, New York after a bout with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Lang was a New York native who grew up in Brooklyn and attended New York University. However, he dropped out before earning his degree and moved down to Florida in order to start a career in concert promoting. While in the Sunshine State, Lang helped put together a number of events including Jimi Hendrix’s performance at the 1968 Miami Pop Festival.
One year after putting together the Miami Pop Festival, he returned to New York to develop his career defining event, Woodstock. Alongside his partners, Lang put together the original Woodstock Festival in Bethel, New York. With a crowd of nearly 400,000 people, Lang’s event attracted stars like The Who, The Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix.
“Woodstock offered an environment for people to express their better selves, if you will,” Lang said in 2019.
“It was probably the most peaceful event of its kind in history. That was because of expectations and what people wanted to create there.”
Woodstock was not Lang’s only endeavor. He also led the MLO, a live entertainment company. Through his personal imprint, Lang worked with Prince, Outkast and Missy Elliott.
Beyond organizing concerts, Lang owned and operated his own record label, Just Sunshine Records. He also managed the career of singer Joe Cocker and produced Wes Anderson’s film, Bottle Rocket.
Lang’s work has been chronicled in several ways such as Taking Woodstock and HBO’s Music Box series. He also wrote the bestselling book, The Road to Woodstock, with Holly George Warren
The New York native is survived by his wife, Tamara, and his five children.