The driving force behind the Woodstock music festival in 1969 has died.
Michael Lang was 77. Rolling Stone reports Michael Pagnotta, a spokesperson for Lang’s family, said Sunday the 77-year-old had been battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma and passed away Saturday at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Woodstock drew 400,000 people to Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, NY from August 15-18, 1969. The festival featured some of the iconic names in rock and roll history, including Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Who, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. “There’s a moment when Michael Lang changed the world,” the Lovin’ Spoonful frontman John Sebastian tells Rolling Stone. “At Woodstock I was standing next to him when one of his minions way in the distance came running toward the stage and we thought, “This can’t be good.’ He gets to Michael and says, ‘The fence is down. Folks are coming over the top.’ And Mike takes this long look over the whole scenario and almost to himself he says, ‘Well, I guess we now have a free festival.’
Lang was 24 when he came up with the idea for Woodstock. Lang later promoted Woodstock anniversary shows in 1994 and 1999.
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