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Michael Lang, who organized the 1969 Woodstock Festival, dies at 77

Concert promoter suffered from a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Producer Michael Lang poses for a portrait in New York, August, 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)
Producer Michael Lang poses for a portrait in New York, August, 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

Michael Lang, the co-creator of the 1969 Woodstock music festival, died on Saturday at the age of 77.

Lang, who was Jewish, suffered from a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He died at the Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City, Billboard magazine confirmed.

Businessmen John Roberts and Joel Rosenman and music industry promoter Artie Kornfeld teamed up with Lang in 1968 to organize what became a generation-defining moment and one of the most famous rock concerts to ever take place.

In an interview to Billboard in 2019, Lang shared some of his memories of organizing the iconic festival.

“I booked the three hottest bands at the time — Jefferson Airplane, Canned Heat and Credence Clearwater Revival,” Lang said.

“That gave us immediate credibility and the word got out and then suddenly the stone was rolling downhill. Then we started adding bands left and right,” he recollected.

Woodstock Music and Art Festival participants leave the festival on August. 17, 1969 in Bethel, New York. (AP Photo)

“In 1969, people came to have three days of peace and music and to experience community,” he continued. “That what’s made it made it so special … The one thing that people have always said to me when they approached me about how Woodstock changed their life was that it changed how they related to other people.”

In 1971, Lang started a record company called Just Sunshine Records, signing some big names in the industry such as Karen Dalton, Billy Joel and Betty Davis. He produced and released over 40 albums until 1974.

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