Michael Lang was still in his twenties when he promoted Woodstock back in 1969. Not bad for something that became one of the most famous music festivals of all time. The weekend itself in Bethel, New York, was a bust from a financial point of view–the subsequent films and soundtracks saved everyone from ruin–but the cultural impact? Wow.
Lang was also between three other Woodstock revivals: 1994 (I was there in the rain and mud), 1999 (the fires, the fights, the rapes), and 2019 (which was announced several times but ultimately canceled.)
I worked with Michael on a project that started just as the pandemic was starting to creep into our lives. He and I were part of an advisory group that hope to create a new destination music venue in Buffalo, which meant plenty of Zoom calls. Michael–a lovely guy, by the way–would join via FaceTime from his home in upstate New York. He and I were often the first on the calls, so we’d had a chance to chat. He had a few stories.
Lang died yesterday (January 8) at the age of 77 at Sloan Kettering in New York City. He’d been suffering a rare form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Variety has a good obituary.