Life & Culture

Michael Lang, co-creator of counter-culture milestone Woodstock, passes away

New York:

The cause of death was a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to family spokesman Michael Bagnotta, citing Variety. Lang is survived by his wife Tamara, their sons Harry and Laszlo, and daughters Larian, Shala and Molly.

The Brooklyn-born New York college dropout began his working life running a “major store” (which sells cannabis and all paraphernalia) in Miami, Florida. He then became a prominent concert organizer, and represented some of the biggest names in music, starting with Joe Crocker.

Lang made his last public appearance before the COVID-19 pandemic on the fiftieth anniversary of the festival. He was trying to revive the festival, which featured, among other things, the High Priest of Transcendental Meditation, Mahesh Yogi, and Pandit Ravi Shankar, but he was unsuccessful.

However, Woodstock’s reputation has endured. It is considered one of the “essential cultural moments” in the recent history of the power of youth that it represents as well as its distinguished group of over 30 artists, including The Grateful Dead, The Who, Carlos Santana, Sly, Family Stone, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix and Jefferson Airline. .

Up to 400,000 young people attended the concert, which was held at Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York, and caused the New York State Thruway to close because they abandoned their cars on it so they could get to the event on time using any other available transportation.

As Robin Williams once memorably said about lasting memories of Woodstock: “If you can remember Woodstock, you probably haven’t been there.” Although Lange and co-stars John Rosenman, Artie Kornfield, and John B. Roberts had logistical problems and last-minute shots, Woodstock went down in the history books as one of the best-organized live concerts on a gigantic scale.

Lang staged two other events in Woodstock, one drenched in rain and dubbed “Mudstock” in 1994 and then another in 1999, which was marked, in the words of “Variety”, with “public violence and vandalism,” with Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff” becoming the song The main unofficial festival is not mentioned as a symbol of peace and love.”

In 2019, Lange’s ultimately failed attempts to produce the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock suffered insurmountable setbacks even after the bill for big hitters including Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus and Dead and Company.

However, Lange has become an unmissable part of the history of American popular culture. He appeared in several scenes of the 1970 documentary, “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music”. In Ang Lee’s 2009 film, “Take Woodstock,” he was played by Grammy Award-winning actor and singer Jonathan Groff. That very year, he and Holly George Warren wrote the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Road to Woodstock.

Lang may be dead, but Woodstock refuses to fade away from our collective memory.

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