After spending his life as a guiding light for peace and love, Michael Lang passed away on Saturday at the age of 77 from a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was survived by two children with first wife Diane — daughter Skyler Ricks Pagnotta (26) and son Nixondre LANG III(24).
In 1969 Michael co-created Woodstock Music & Art Fair where he also performed alongside Jimi Hendrix among others during performances that are now considered rock classics; This would be followed up in 1994 when organizers held another iconic event known simply as ‘Woodstocking 4.’
He last appeared publicly just before the COVID pandemic hit around the 50th anniversary of Woodstock which was marked by controversial will they-or-won’t attempts to stage a festival. The press covered it so that this incident would never be forgotten for its absurdity in our history books forever more – now only if we could have had one final live performance from him.
Lang is a Brooklyn-born concert producer who began his career in the late ’60s when he went on to organize some of music history’s most iconic events like The Miami Pop Festival which featured acts such as Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker among others.
When he moved to Woodstock, New York area, and saw how much potential for an event there was with co-founders John Rosenman, Artie Kornfeld & JP Roberts who had the idea of starting up this three-day festival that would draw some 400 thousand people from all around America. It turned out great because they were able not only to accommodate them but also provide plenty of onsite amenities like camping grounds which is what made it so popular among attendees as well!
Woodstock happened at a time when society was changing rapidly. The United States had just come out of an unpopular war in Vietnam, and many young adults were drafted to fight over there while back home hippies began influencing art with their counterculture lifestyle choices like wearing jeans instead of suits or driving vans rather than cars that seemed unsustainable for future generations who would inherit this planet Earth from us all eventually anyway.
The Festival’s slogan “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days Peace + Music” refers not only to how Woodstock takes place during the third day (Aquarius) but also captures its essence – bringing together people under one roof so they can feel connected through music regardless what language you speak).
On April 21, 1968, more than 500000 people gathered at Altamont Speedway to hear The Who perform live. What started as a small festival for music and drugs quickly turned into an iconic cultural moment of the 1960s when violence broke out between fans attending concerts by famous musicians like Santana or Sly &the Family Stone.
Over the three days of music, drugs were consumed by many artists. One incident involved Jerry Garcia giving Carlos Santana some acid before a show and then rushing him onto the stage where he delivered one of this weekend’s most compelling performances under influence as well!
“He battled that guitar because he thought it was a serpent,” said Lang.
“Now I know how David Gilmour feels every time they play ‘Inpour’ during their concerts!”
The legendary Woodstock festival is still a fixture of pop culture, with many jokes being told decades after the event. One such example from Robin Williams and his endless string of punchlines in other people’s lives: “If you can remember Woodstock then I’m sorry for your loss.”
It was also immortalized in song, notably Crosby, Stills, and Young’s “Woodstock.” Del Rey’sCoachella- Woodstock In My Mind off 2017 is just one more reminder that this event will never be forgotten or forgiven by those who were directly affected by it.
Woodstock ’94 was a powerful event that marked its 25th anniversary in Saugerties, New York. The festival came to be known as Mudstock after two days of rainstorms left much of the field turned into a giant mud pit for Nine Inch Nails and Primus among others who drenched themselves or had it slung at them by cheering concert-goers.
The lineup for Woodstock 2019 included a mixture of legacy performers from the original festival, like Santana, Crosby Stills Nash & Young Joe Cocker John Sebastian Country Joe McDonald. There were also contemporary alt-rock bands such as The Cranberries and Red Hot Chili Peppers who graced this year’s bill.
The 1999 Woodstock festival was the third site altogether, in Rome and drew about 400 thousand attendees. Unlike the 1994 event where it gained fame for being non-organized chaos with people getting muddy together; this time around there were many violent acts committed by bands like Limp Bizkit who set an unofficial theme song which would be heard throughout all three days – ‘Break Stuff’
reported them cutting fences open so they could jump into crowds or throwing garbage cans on stage while performing “Nookie.” In 2019, The Woodstock Music and Arts Festival returned to its original home at the newly renovated Watkins Glen International Raceway. This time around there were no entire sets given by artists from 1969 such as Crosby & Nash or Santana but some exceptional musicians did return including Rage Against The Machine rapper Minister LeviPage X DMX hip-hop group Ludacris Kid Rock Dave Matthews Band Metallica veteran rocker Ted Nugent just for instance among many others in a distinct emphasis on a modern rock which included performances from nearly every major act who wished their songs be heard live again save one: Aerosmith due party organizer Michael Lang had difficulty finding an event sponsor after Nike pulled out following negative publicity resulting from reports sexual assault during previous festivals.
It’s no secret that the 1990s were a simpler time. 1994 saw some of today’s most iconic artists perform at Festival Much Music in Toronto, including Nine Inch Nails and Green Day to name just two who played during this span! Even though there was criticism after both festivals for different reasons (one because it ended poorly while another had more anticipated performances), one thing cannot be argued: These shows still hold up as some great memories from my youth.”
In 2019, Lang’s ultimate failure to produce a Woodstock 50th anniversary festival suffered the insurmountable setback of announcing an all-star bill including Miley Cyrus and Dead & Company performing on Aug 16-18 in Watkins Glen. Backers of the Woodstock 50 festival — Japanese financial partner Dentsu and its investment division Amplifi pulled their support in April after an initial $32 million, setting off lawsuits. But Lang’s biggest problem was getting permits from local authorities which were short even though a change of location was finally set at 75K before he gave up on it altogether!
Said Lang of her decision to leave the industry: “It was one bizarre thing after another, but I feel lighter.”
Perhaps the most peaceful event in history, Woodstock still resonates today. Lang believes that this mood of peace and togetherness is what led to social changes leading up until the present day
“Woodstock offered an environment for people to express their better selves.” He tells Pollstar “It wasn’t just entertainment; it was more about The issues . They were part our generation,” he says with pride. He allowed that originally, “it was a commercial venture meant to make money for our partners.” But ultimately he added: “The first Earth Day came right after Woodstock. Women’s rights… Then there was the inauguration of Barack Obama; Washington’s Woodstock if you will.” Those are things that grew out of those times and evolved into what they are now – two steps forward then one step back sometimes three backs.
Lang’s family is heartbroken to lose him, but they’re thankful for all that he did. He will be missed dearly by them and everyone else who knew or cared about Lang!
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