Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang

Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang

Remembering Michael Lang on his birthday
December 11, 1944 – January 8, 2022

If you’ve arrived here directly or via Facebook, I will assume that you are already familiar with Mr Lang and who he is. I’ll just bullet-point a few facts about him.

  • he was born in Brooklyn, New York
  • in 1967, he moved to Coconut Grove, Florida and  opened a head shop: papers, posters, black lights, and similar things to help enhance one’s day.
Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang
Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang
  • in 1968,  Lang assisted in the production of the 1968 Miami Pop Festival.” It featured Steppenwolf, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Mothers of Invention, Blue Cheer, Crazy World of Arthur Brown,Chuck Berry, The Blues Image, Pacific Gas and Electric, and Three Dog Night.
Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang
  • he left Miami and moved to Woodstock, NY. He also spent a lot of time in NYC where he and Artie Kornfeld came up with the idea to create a recording studio in Woodstock for the growing number of so-called “underground” musicians living there such as Paul Butterfield, Van Morrison, and others. Of course, Bob Dylan was there, too.
  • he, Kornfeld, John Roberts, and Joel Rosenman formed Woodstock Venturers for that purpose.
    Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang

    Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang
    August 18, 2013, Michael Lang and Joel Rosenman at memorial service for Richie Havens at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (photo by James Shelley)
  •  he did not help produce the Altamont Free Concert in December 1969, but he did assist in the relocation of the event after it had to be moved.
  • Lang also managed several successful international recording artists, including Joe Cocker, Rickie Lee Jones, Willie DeVille, Tarkan, and Spanish recording artists El Ultimo de la Fila.
  • Lang owned and operated Just Sunshine Records, which produced and released more than 40 albums by such diverse musical artists as Karen Dalton, Betty Davis, and Mississippi Fred McDowell.
  • Today, Woodstock.com is a place where people can explore what Michael Lang and the others involved in Woodstock Venture are up to and offering now.


Michael Lang died at Sloan Kettering hospital in New York. He was 77.

Michael Pagnotta, a rep for Lang and longtime family friend, confirmed the promoter’s death to Rolling Stone, adding that the cause was a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.


Michael Lang’s death was obviously in the news everywhere. Likely hundreds of obituaries and remembrances could be found. I chose the following from Bill Hanley, the person who did the sound at Woodstock:

Michael Lang died on January 8, 2022.

He was a friend of mine. We worked together at many festival gigs, most notably Woodstock ’69.
Because of my experience Michael believed I would deliver the best possible sound, and I did.
He told me decades later he knew I could be trusted to be fully conscious all the time because I didn’t do drugs or drink. He was right.
In the past month there has been much written and broadcast about Michael, all favorable and to which I don’t feel I could add anything more to this distinguished person’s character.
Except one thing…
For the summer of August, 2019, because plans for the 50th Woodstock Event were canceled, Michael came up to Yasgur’s Farm in Bethel, NY. Me, my wife, my son and all his friends, Rona Elliot and Henry Diltz were staying at Max Yasgur’s house (graciously offered to us by Jeryl Abramson, now owner of Yasgur’s Farm).
Michael was a celebrity when he came, everyone was thrilled to see him. With an extended hand shake he humbly spoke to everyone. After the drum circle and the place calmed down me, my wife Rhoda, Rona and Michael were left sitting around Max’s kitchen table. The four of us started talking about our childhoods, our families, telling stories. Some were so funny we were just bending over the table with laughter. Into the wee hours of the early morning we shared our past. I got to know Michael and he got to know us just as plain ordinary people. No rock ‘n roll, not show biz just human beings with stories, many just totally hilarious. I treasure this night.
I will miss Michael.
February 3. 22
Woodstock Ventures Michael Lang